BELMAR/LAKE COMO, NJ — A Bayville-based marine construction company has been awarded a $4.3 million contract for the Lake Como drainage improvement project.

J.E. Hannon Inc., trading as Bird Construction, was the lowest among 10 bids submitted for the federally funded project planned for the flood-prone area surrounding the lake in Belmar, Lake Como and Spring Lake. It includes construction of a 700-foot outfall pipe that will extend from Lake Como, under Ocean Avenue and into the Atlantic Ocean. The bid was below the $6.2 million grant the borough received as part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s second round of relief aid for Superstorm Sandy.

The Borough Council on June 7 approved a resolution awarding the project to Bird Construction, whose bid also was reviewed the borough’s engineering firm, Maser Consulting of Red Bank, and the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection.

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Although a start date for the project has not been released, all work is expected to take about nine months to complete, according to the bid specifications. The project will be staged so that vehicle and pedestrian traffic along Ocean Avenue is not affected by the construction, according to officials.

The long-awaited project involves the construction of a 60-inch-diameter iron and concrete-reinforced pipeline that will replace an inadequate narrow pipe currently draining into the ocean. Whenever heavy rains are forecasted, the situation prompts the need for temporary pumps to be set up at the lake to reduce flood risk in the surrounding residential streets.

The work will also entail the reconstruction of existing utilities, including manholes and pipes, along Ocean Avenue and North Boulevard, which borders the lake, and the restoration of the entire project area.

After nearly a two-year wait, borough officials in April received the final permits required from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the project. In 2015, Belmar received financing for the project through a $50 million Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery, administered by the DEP’s Flood Hazard Risk Reduction and Resiliency Grant Program.

Belmar was among eight municipalities in New Jersey to receive these grants, awarded to fund projects or improvements aimed at preventing the massive flooding that occurred during Superstorm Sandy.

During the epic storm on October 29, 2012, the areas of Belmar, Lake Como and Spring Lake surrounding Lake Como were under water for more than a week, causing millions of dollars of damage to homes and streets. Belmar was given jurisdiction over the project at the state’s request, after a commission representing all three municipalities initially applied for funding.

Bird Construction specializes in marine construction, including bulkheading, pile driving, dock building, dredging, pile foundations, wood piles, steel sheeting, vinyl sheeting, H-beams, pipe and cofferdams, according to its company profile. Serving New Jersey and New York since 1964, it has been a government-approved contractor for similar projects in Monmouth County, including a $4.6 million bulkhead and pier replacement project in Keyport in 2014 and a $1.1 million Shark River bulkhead replacement project in Avon-by-the-Sea, which was completed in 2016, according to the DEP.

 

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