Contractors get look at beach project | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | September 30, 2016 5:00 pm
Last Updated: September 28, 2016 at 10:43 am
By GEORGE SALSBERRY
Edisto Beach’s plans for a new and improved shoreline took another in a long series of steps to accomplishing that goal Wednesday morning.
Town officials and representatives of Columbia-based Coastal Science and Engineering conducted two pre-bid conferences at Edisto Beach Town Hall for the work, which is estimated to have a $12 million price tag.
One pre-bid conference involved the companies that might submit a bid to handle the project to extend the groins at Edisto Beach.
The second conference had the town officials and engineers meeting with the representatives of companies interested in the beach nourishment project.
Town Administrator Iris Hill explains that the groin extension work and the renourishment project will basically be undertaken at the same time.
Hill said that the there has been “quite a bit of interest” from companies considering a bid on the projects.
The town will able to get a better handle on the level of interest by seeing how many companies attend the mandatory pre-bid conferences.
Hill said that it was “possible but not likely that companies would be bidding on both projects.”
The bids for the two projects have to be submitted to the town by the end of business on Oct. 11.
The town and Coastal Science will review the bids and hopefully be able to award the contacts later in October. Work could begin as early as Nov. 1. The bid specification calls for the work to be completed by the end of April 2017.
Hill said the plan to extend the length of 26 groins will serve two purposes. Having the groins extend further into the ocean, she explained, will enable Edisto Beach to have a wider beach “to provide a wider recreational area.”
The longer groins, she added, should “also prevent us from having to nourish the beach as often.”
The projects have to be undertaken together because the sand pulled from the ocean and deposited on the beach can be used as a work platform for the contractor handling the groin extensions. That work, she added, might also be done from a barge.
As part of the beach renourishment portion of the work, a offshore borrow area (the location where the sand will be pulled from the ocean and placed on shore) has been designated about a mile off the southern edge of the project area. The contractor can pull up to 1.6 million cubic yards of sand from the 145-acre borrow area.
In order to have the groin work undertaken, Edisto Beach had to obtain a work permit from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Ocean and Coastal Resource Management Department and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. Hill said that Edisto Beach State Park was the town’s partner in seeking the DHEC permit.
Hill said that the town has $7 million of the projects’ projected costs in hand. Over a number of years, the town council has been setting aside money for the periodic renourishment of the beach — the last renourishment was done in 2006.
The $3 million amassed by the town will be supplemented by $4 million allocated to beach renourishment from Colleton County’s Capital Projects Sale Tax.
When the county placed the Capital Projects Sales Tax question on the ballot, the state required that the ballot language specify which projects the funds generated by the one-cent sales tax would fund.
The county had to form a citizens committee to obtain requests for the funding and list them in order of importance.
The citizen’s committee, following a lengthy process, placed the beach renourishment project at the top of the list.
In addition to being the top project identified by the citizen’s committee, the beach renourishment project was the Capital Projects Sales Tax’s third highest allocation, only eclipsed by the $6.6 million set aside for Walterboro’s I-95 Business Loop project and the $5.1 million construction of a law enforcement center.
Hill said the remaining $5 million needed to fully fund the current plan will hopefully come from the state.
When the current state budget was being formulated, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley successfully sought to have $30 million set aside for beach renourishment projects state-wide.
Edisto Beach filed a grant application with the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism seeking $5 million from the state.
Hill said she is not sure when the state department will be deciding the distribution of the grant.
If the state decides against Edisto Beach’s grant application or does not fully fund the request, Hill said the members of town council will be faced with the prospect of down-sizing the project.
Hill said with the project getting closer to beginning, town officials are “looking forward to it. We are excited that it is happening.”