Ocean City is working with an outside engineering company to develop a sustainable dredging program to maintain lagoons and channels across the length of the island's bay side.
Mayor Jay A. Gillian will hold a town hall meeting 11 a.m. Saturday, May 21, at the Howard S. Stainton Senior Center located at 1735 Simpson Avenue. The purpose of the meeting is for ACT Engineers to present an update on back bay dredging in Ocean City.
In December 2015, City Council awarded a $849,227 contract to Command Co Inc of Egg Harbor City to build a temporary road from Roosevelt Boulevard to "Site 83," an approved disposal facility that is filled almost to capacity. Emptying Site 83 by truck will allow new dredging projects to begin.
Construction of the road began on May 17 (2016) and is expected to be complete within 60 days.
Ocean City remains committed to dredging all parts of the bay side, but the city has essentially no place to deposit dredged material. Environmental regulations create substantial obstacles to new dredging projects. The city has hired ACT Engineers to develop a comprehensive dredging plan. The city also has contracted the services of a lobbyist, Tonio Burgos and Associates, in hopes of finding a cost-effective dredging solution that could save taxpayers millions. New surveys indicate as much as 900,000 cubic yards of material must be removed to restore all of Ocean City's bays and lagoons to a depth of five to six feet. The city's five-year capital plan dedicates $20 million to dredging.
EXISTING DISPOSAL SITES
Site 83 has a capacity of 300,000 cubic yards. It was full. Wickberg Marine Contracting had a $2.7 million contract to remove 50,000 cubic yards (by barge and truck) starting in 2015. Wickberg had removed about 42,000 cubic yards when the Army Corps of Engineers sent a “cease and desist order” in January. The order noted violations related to unauthorized manipulation of the areas where the barges and trucks traveled to transport the dredged material. The city and Wickberg are working with regulators on a restoration plan for the affected areas. The new road would allow for a more cost-effective process to clear material from Site 83. It is currently being trucked to Wildwood to help cap a landfill.
A new disposal facility under the new Ninth Street Bridge on the Route 52 causeway allows for a small landing area (up to 8,000 cubic yards), where trucks can haul material away.
NEW DISPOSAL SITES
ACT Engineers is developing a wetlands restoration plan that would take advantage of a $2.6 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to experiment with a new technique to “create and stabilize wetlands” -- essentially to spray dredged material over a wide area of marsh.
NEW DREDGING PROJECTS
PAST DREDGING PROJECTS
15th Street to 34th Street: Hydro-Marine Construction Company of Hainesport, NJ, had a $1.8 million contract in 2012 to dredge the lagoons between 15th and 34th streets. The contractor did not complete work on the contract by the end of a permitting window on Dec. 31, 2012, and was scheduled to resume work to complete the job on July 1, 2013, but never returned. The dredging company did not finish work at Carnival Bayou Lagoon (between 16th and 17th streets) or at parts of Venetian Bayou Lagoon (between 17th and 18th streets) and Clubhouse Lagoon (between Waterway Road and Clubhouse Drive). Hydro-Marine Construction removed 73,000 cubic yards of dredged material under a contract that called for the dredging of 106,000 cubic yards. Work stopped because Site 83 was filled to capacity.
BATHYMETRIC SURVEYS OF DEPTH FOR OCEAN CITY LAGOONS (AS OF JAN. 2016)