Dare County this afternoon opened bids from four companies for the Buxton beach nourishment project that officials had hoped to complete in the summer or fall of this year.
However, only two of the four companies bid on the project for this summer and both bids were considerably more than the county’s estimated budget of $22.9 million.
Dutra Group of San Rafael, Calif., bid $33.9 million for the 2016 work and Weeks Marine of Covington, La., submitted a bid for $34.1 million.
Companies bidding on the project were asked to submit two bids — one for all work to be accomplished between May 1 and Dec. 15 2016 and another for work to be done by Dec. 15, 2017.
The request for bids stipulated that the work “to the extent practicable” be conducted during the fair weather months. The county’s contractor to plan and oversee the project, Coastal Science & Engineering, says that nourishing the beaches in the storm-prone winter months is both too costly and dangerous.
All four companies bid on the work for 2017, including one whose bid was slightly under budget. The bid from Weeks Marine for 2017 was $22.1 million.
The other three companies bid between $6 million and $25 million more than the budgeted $22.9 million. The bids were 29.8 from Dutra, $31.7 million from GLDD of Oakbrook, Ill., and $48.7 million from Manson Construction Co. of Jacksonville, Fla.
The bids are considered preliminary until they are vetted by engineers with Coastal Science & Engineering, which could happen as early as tomorrow.
Dare County manager Bobby Outten said that with only two companies having bid for the job this year, it is not likely that the project would be sent out for another round of bids.
He also said that the county’s beach nourishment fund cannot afford to pay 50 percent more than what has been budgeted for the Buxton project, although accepting a bid is ultimately up to the Board of Commissioners.
Three of the towns in the county — Duck, Kill Devil Hills, and Kitty Hawk — also plan to nourish their beaches and had hoped to do it this year. Because of the availability of dredges and cost of the project, the towns have had to postpone their projects until next year.
Dare County proposes to nourish 2.9 miles of beach from approximately the Canadian Hole to the old site of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse with 2.6 million cubic yards of sand from an offshore borrow pit. The reason for the nourishment project is to protect Highway 12 from destructive storm surges.