Reprinted from Island Free Press
The Dare County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to award a $25.87 million bid to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. for the 2022 Avon and Buxton beach nourishment projects.
The county received bids for the project on Nov. 17 from Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co., Manson Construction Co. and Weeks Marine.
Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. submitted the lowest bid, which was 13.7% less than project estimates from both Federal Emergency Management Agency and Coastal Science & Engineering, the primary contractor and manager of the two upcoming projects.
The estimate from Great Lakes is based on adding 2.2 million cubic yards of sand to the shoreline, which includes 1 million cubic yards of sand for Avon, and 1.2 million cubic yards of sand for Buxton.
The estimate is effectively $4.3 million less than the estimate the county received in the original beach nourishment model for the project, although the cost savings will be distributed among all the stakeholders contributing to the project, which includes Dare County and FEMA.
“FEMA is sharing in the project, so we got to reduce their shares well,” said David Clawson, Dare County finance director, during the meeting. “So when you reduce the FEMA share for the bid, we’re $2.9 million dollars to the good from what we planned on.”
According to a memo from Coastal Science and Engineering, Great Lakes is America’s largest dredging contractor and a major international competitor. Coastal Science and Engineering has worked with Great Lakes, on 10 beach nourishment projects since 1990, which includes 2011 and 2019 projects in Nags Head, and a number of similar projects in South Carolina and North Carolina.
“With extensive experience, two available hopper dredges, and a bid (that is approximately) 11% lower than the second-lowest bid, GLDD (Great Lakes) is clearly the Apparent Low Bidder,” stated Coastal Science and Engineering in the memo.
The memo also included price comparisons of recent beach nourishment projects in similar areas, with the Avon and Buxton’s cost being noticeably less than their coastal counterparts.
“When you look at (the cost) compared to what’s going on in Myrtle Beach and other areas, and the challenges that we have out here, that is very competitive. That’s a significant figure,” said Hatteras Island Commissioner Danny Couch.
After a brief presentation of the figures by Clawson, Couch introduced a motion to award the bid to Great Lakes for the 2022 project, and to authorize the county manager to proceed with the contract. The motion was unanimously approved.
Now that the county has awarded the work, Coastal Science and Engineering will coordinate with the contractor, National Park Service, state and federal resource agencies, and the county to determine an “Order of Work” before construction.
The project is slated to take place from May 1 through Sept. 30, 2022, in order to perform the work during optimal weather conditions.
The Buxton aspect of the project is a beach nourishment maintenance project, which will add about 1.2 million cubic yards of sand to the northern Buxton beaches. The original beach nourishment project, which was completed in February 2018, deposited a total 2.6 million cubic yards of sand on a 2.9-mile stretch of Buxton shoreline.
The Avon beach nourishment project is a new endeavor that will deposit 1 million cubic yards of sand on approximately 2.2 miles of Avon shoreline, from Due East Road to the southern village borer. Earlier in 2021, the commissioners voted to create a new service tax district in Avon to help fund the project.
Once the project begins, it is expected to take about 90 days to be completed, but the timeframe is very dependent on the weather. For example, the Buxton project was delayed by a few months due to a number of storms that impacted the area in 2017.
This story is provided courtesy of the Island Free Press, a digital newspaper covering Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. Coastal Review is partnering with the Free Press to provide readers with more environmental and lifestyle stories of interest along our coast.