By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
MARGATE – The Board of Commissioners Thursday, Nov. 7 awarded a $1,599,164 contract to Trident Piling Co., LLC of Longport to rebuild a section of the Amherst Avenue bulkhead.
The timber bulkhead built in the 1930s has deteriorated and several parking areas have been closed to vehicles because the ground beneath the asphalt is crumbling.
The city received four bids on Oct. 30 ranging from Trident’s low bid to a high of $2.5 million from Walters Marine Construction. The second lowest bidder was Albert Marine at $1.79 million. Agate Construction bid slightly higher at $1.81 million.
Trident will order materials for the project, which could take six to eight weeks to receive. Construction could start before the New Year and finish in time for Memorial Day. The contract recites May 15 as the deadline for completion. If it is not completed by then, the city can assess damages, according to the contract.
City Administrator Richard Deaney called the project “a major milestone” that includes the first round of public funding to replace about 1,250 feet of city-owned bulkhead at an elevation of 8 feet.
Lamberti’s restaurant is in the process of replacing its bulkhead, while developers Jim Leeds and Sean and Jamie Gormley have already replaced swaths of bulkhead fronting their waterfront properties.
City engineer Ed Dennis of Remington & Vernick Engineers said the bids came in at the engineer’s estimate. Arthur W. Ponzio & Associates, Inc. prepared plans and specifications for the project.
“We have committed to solving the flooding at this end of town,” Mayor Michael Becker said.
The city’s investment of time and money would help reduce flooding issues in the backbay area, he said.
The project includes replacing 515 feet of bulkhead between the Lamberti’s and Leeds’ properties with composite materials and includes removal and replacement of all utilities related to the marine industry, including water, electric, cable and telephone service. Utility work will be completed starting late November-early December, with construction of the bulkhead beginning in January.
According to city officials, the new bulkhead will “lessen the impact of flooding in the area, as well as limit wave action from storm events.”
Funding for the project comes from the city’s 2019 capital bond ordinance approved in August.
The city plans a second phase to construct a promenade spanning the area from Sprinkles to the Longport border with lighting, benches, trash receptacles, ADA access and parking starting in the fall of 2020 with a planned completion date of spring 2021. Funding for Phase II will come from the city’s 2020 capital bond, which is currently being formulated.
The promenade was recommended in the city’s 2017 Master Plan as a way to tie the central business district along Atlantic and Ventnor avenues to the Amherst Avenue marina district with pedestrian access along Washington Avenue.
Ponzio presented a concept plan for the promenade on Aug. 1 which included construction of an elevated boardwalk. However, city officials did not commit to building the boardwalk. It could be a 9-foot-wide concrete walkway at grade, officials said.
Deaney said the 2020 capital bond ordinance will be introduced in January 2020.
The city is also planning to install a pump station to take flood water off Washington and Adams avenues from Ventnor Avenue to the bay during flood events at an estimated cost approaching $2 million.
“This is no small project,” Deaney said. “This is such a major flood prevention project, there may be FEMA funds available.”
Costs for preliminary design work for the pump station must be included in the January bond ordinance, he said.
“We need to prioritize flood-based projects and how they will be funded,” Deaney said.
“What we are doing with the bulkhead, which is a big part of flood prevention, should help us with the grants,” Commissioner John Amodeo said.