Bid process winding down for next year’s Outer Banks beach nourishment projects

Crews work on the beach off Nags Head in June 2019. [photo courtesy Mere Crockett]

The contractor who handled a beach nourishment project along Buxton four years ago has been selected for upcoming work off several of the northern beach towns after submitting the lowest bid.

Exact dates for the nourishment projects have not been set, so it is still too early to know when workers and equipment will be along a specific section of Outer Banks beach.

The latest updates will be posted on Dare County’s beach nourishment information website, MoreBeachToLove.com

Weeks Marine submitted a bid of $27,932,050 for the sand pumping projects that are anticipated to take place next spring and summer off Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills.

The same company ran into numerous mechanical and weather delays while widening the beaches from The Haulover to the old Coast Guard base in Buxton between 2017 and 2018.

The Dare County Board of Commissioners on Monday approved several documents, including Chairman Bob Woodard signing a letter of intent with Weeks Marine to conduct the beach nourishment for Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills, along with installment financing contracts.

Coastal Protection Engineering of North Carolina, the firm handling planning and engineering work, estimate for the construction portion of the project was $35.6 million.

County Finance Director Dave Clawson said Monday the bids came in lower than anticipated, which will allow Duck and Kitty Hawk to get more sand for their money. Kitty Hawk has approved the increased volume, while Duck’s decision is pending.

Great Lakes Dock and Dredge, which most recently widened the beaches from Duck to Nags Head four years ago, submitted a bid of $34,599,625. Manson Construction turned in the highest bid of $45,945,050.

A combination of funding for the projects will come from funds set aside for beach nourishment from the county’s occupancy tax on hotel/motel room and vacation property rentals, along with a portion of property taxes assessed in the four towns that have been designated to beach nourishment.

The towns will have to come up with just under $12 million combined, while the county’s beach nourishment fund contribution will be just over $8.7 million, and there are grants of $11.7 million from FEMA and the state.

On Monday, Clawson noted that Kitty Hawk’s permit from the state Division of Coastal Management is still pending final approval. If that CAMA permit does not come in before mid-October, that could cause a domino effect of delays.

County Manager Bobby Outten and Clawson said there are several deadlines the Local Government Commission and the state Treasurer’s Office have imposed for next month related to the annual audit of county finances, and that financing of the beach nourishment is tied to the CAMA permit and needs to be completed ahead of those deadlines.

Outten added that the remaining issues could be resolved in the coming days.

“The Town of Nags Head advertised for bids on September 3, held a pre-bid conference on September 16, 2021, and will be receiving bids on October 7, 2021 for the 2022 Post-Dorian Renourishment Project, said Town Engineer David M. Ryan.

Grants from FEMA and the state, along with money from the local beach nourishment reserve fund, will cover the costs of the South Nags Head and Buxton projects, as the sand lost from previous beach widening was determined to have been caused by recent hurricanes and were eligible for federal and state disaster relief funds.

“This project was bid independent of the Dare County Northern Beach projects with an approximate one-month difference between bid postings,” Ryan said. “We are hopeful the interest expressed in the Dare County Northern Beaches project will result in highly competitive bids being received.”

Bids for 2022 sand pumping projects off Avon and Buxton and South Nags Head are still pending. Dare County will use occupancy tax and property tax funds to pay for the Avon project, a first for the beach stretching from Due East Road to the Ramp 38 area.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.