March 17, 2016

Dare Commissioners accept beach nourishment bid for towns


At a special meeting this morning, the Dare County Board of Commissioners accepted the bid from Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company for the beach nourishment project that encompasses the Town of Duck, Town of Kitty Hawk, and Town of Kill Devil Hills.

The award is contingent on approval from the Local Government Commission.

The bid from Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company totaled $38,596,850 and is approximately $4.9 million under budget.

The towns intend to pay for the nourishment projects with a combination of money from the county's beach nourishment fund and increases in taxes from property owners. The county fund gets its money from a 2 percent occupancy tax on all lodging.

Work is scheduled to begin in April 2017. As plans progress, the Town of Duck, Town of Kitty Hawk and Town of Kill Devil Hills will provide information about plans for construction.

The bid from Great Lakes came in the second round of bidding on the projects.  In the first round last month, all of the bids were over the estimated cost of the projects, and they were put out for re-bidding.

The towns had hoped to have the projects done this summer. However, dredges are apparently in great demand this summer, so the project will have to be postponed for a year. Dredging in the dynamic waters off the Outer Banks is too dangerous and costly to be done in the stormy fall and winter months.

Dare County has one more nourishment project in the works -- in north Buxton -- and still says it hopes to get that one done this summer.

However, the Buxton project, to nourish 2.9 miles of beach from approximately the Canadian Hole to the old site of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse to protect Highway 12, needs one more permit.

Last week, the county received the all-important special use permit from the National Park Service, which owns the beaches to be nourished.

The county's planning contractor for the Buxton project told the commissioners at a meeting last month that after the Park Service issued its special use permit, the final permit can be issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The county's timeline for the Buxton project is ambitious -- with a final permitting in early April or so, projects put out for bid in late April, and bids approved and work starting by late May or June.

The commissioners have also set a public hearing for 10 a.m. on Monday, April 4, on its proposal to establish a tax service district that would include the 34 oceanfront property owners who would benefit from the nourishment project.  Those property owners would be expected to pay increased taxes to help fund the beach restoration.

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