Rebuilding Belmar's boardwalk will cost less than half what was originally estimated. The borough approved a $6.59 million contract to rebuild the boardwalk as it was, but with increased hurricane protection.
Belmar planned to spend $17 million to rebuild its boardwalk, destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. On top of the favorable bid, the lowest of 23 submitted, winning contractor Epic Construction could net a $100,000 bonus if the work is complete by April 30.
Mayor and council aim to have the boardwalk open by Memorial Day, in what Mayor Matt Doherty called an aggressive push to be at the front of the line of towns hoping to rebuild their boardwalk.
Epic Construction, of Piscataway, also faces a $7,500 daily penalty for every day after April 30 the work is not done, according to the contract unanimously awarded at Wednesday's council meeting.
The bids ranged from Epic Construction’s low bid of $6.6 million to the highest bid of 19.6 million.
"Our determination to rebuild quickly has resulted in a robust and fair bidding process that yielded a great price for reconstruction, far below our original estimate of $17 million,” said Doherty.
He continued, "By being aggressive, we were able to ensure residents and tourists that Belmar will have a boardwalk this summer, and we will build it at the best price possible for taxpayers. In addition, the boardwalk is engineered to 2012 standards that would have survived Sandy. So not only are we doing this quickly and at a great price, we are also building it to last."
The original estimate of $17 million came from borough engineer Birdsall Engineering's Paul Calabrese, and many of the bids came in around $13 million, Doherty said.
But the borough is obligated to pick the lowest bidder due to state bidding laws, yet is still confident in Epic Construction, said the mayor.
"I did some due diligence, checked out the company further," said the mayor. He praised the company for its work in previous contracts such as the carpentry on the Heildrich Center in New Brunswick.
The bid is for $6,559,440, and is for the rebuilding of the boardwalk only: its pilings, decking, strapping, stairs and ramps. Electrical and plumbing work, benches, and rebuilt pavilions are not included in the project.
Doherty said the priority was simply the boardwalk, in the coming weeks the borough will be exploring how to proceed on the other elements to the boardwalk.
While electric and plumbing is certainly planned for the 2013 Memorial Day target date, seeing pavilions and permanent buildings for concessions will likely come in 2014, Doherty said.