By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
MARGATE – At a special meeting Thursday, Nov. 12, the Board of Commissioners will award a contract to build the long-promised promenade along the Amherst Avenue bayfront.
The project will complete the city’s effort to improve the marina district with a new bulkhead and an elevated walkway that will provide residents and visitors with a dynamic view of the marvelous sunsets over Beach Thoroughfare.
The city has scheduled a special in-person only meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday to award the contract to low-bidder Fred M. Schaivone Construction, Inc. of Malaga. Schaivone was the lowest of four bids received on Nov. 5. Although nine contractors picked up bid packages, only four submitted base bids and costs for five alternate bids and two deduct bids.
The exact contract amount was not available early Thursday morning, but Schaivone’s base bid was $1,795,045, $18,441 lower than the next lowest bidder, L. Feriozzi Concrete Co. Other base bids received by the deadline include $1,845,000 from Walters Marine Construction, and the highest bid was $2,447,712 from Ocean Construction.
According to Commissioner John Amodeo, all three commissioners are “on board” with awarding the contract sooner than the next regular commissioners meeting on Nov. 19.
“We wanted to award the contract at last Thursday’s meeting, but the engineer did not have enough time to review all the alternates and deducts,” he said in a telephone interview Thursday morning.
After review, engineer Ed Dennis of Remington & Vernick certified that Schaivone not only had the lowest base bid, but also had the lowest total amount with all the alternates and deducts included, Amodeo said.
“We have limited funds and we were concerned about getting everything we wanted, but Schaivone’s bid offering provides everything within our budget,” he said.
Amodeo said the city was prepared to put off certain elements of the promenade design for a later time, but Schaivone’s bid package provided nearly all elements included in the bid specifications.
He said the contract will not include funding for benches or trash receptacles.
“We will purchase the trash receptacles separately and put the benches in our bench program,” he said.
The city allowed residents to purchase a bench in memory of a loved one for installation on the dune crossovers, but that program was sold out. Residents will now have the opportunity to do the same on the promenade, he said.
Approving the contract at the special meeting will allow the contractor to order wood, which is in short supply due to the pandemic, and with costs increasing, Amodeo said. The contractor also has a four week lead time to get electrical fixtures manufactured.
“We’re already three or four weeks behind our goal to award the contract in October, and we want to make sure everything is done before Memorial Day, including all the paving, line striping and concrete work,” he said.
In October 2019, the city awarded a $1.5 million contract to Trident Piling Company to complete replacement of the aging bulkhead, and that project is substantially complete. There is some remaining electrical work that will be coordinated with the promenade, Dennis reported at the last commission meeting.
Mathis Construction was awarded an $898,452 contract on Sept. 17 for reconstruction of Amherst Avenue, which will become a one-way street.
According to design architect Arthur W. Ponzio, restriping of the roadway to convert the now two-way street to a one-way street with an 8-foot wide bicycle lane will begin at Washington Avenue and end at Jefferson Avenue, with traffic flowing west toward Longport. Parallel parking on the opposite side of Amherst Avenue will be maintained.
The plan incorporates the safety recommendations made in a traffic study conducted by Shropshire Associates, LLC, a prominent traffic engineering firm. Traffic counts show that more motorists travel toward Longport than toward Ventnor.
There will be 3-foot buffers between the parking area and the bike lane and a 2-foot buffer from the bike lane to the 12-foot wide traffic lane.
The existing parking area will be angled for easy access, and there will be two decorative bollards at each parking space to protect pedestrians.
The promenade, which will connect the marina district with the Washington Avenue pedestrian walkway and the central business district on Ventnor Avenue and the Lucy the Elephant tourism district on Atlantic Avenue, was recommended in the city’s 2016 Master Plan Update.
The promenade, which will be elevated 2-feet off the ground and be between 10-12 feet wide, will be constructed of ipe hardwood. The railing system will be made of stainless steel and cable. Handicapped accessible ramps will be located at Jefferson, Madison and Monroe avenues, with stairs at all other intersections. All will have striped crosswalks.
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