Lagoon Dredging Contract Awarded for Osborn Island

Aug 15, 2018
Photo by: supplied The shoreline restoration project for Iowa Court will add a stone and wood bulkhead out to previous land delineations from 1977.

A collective sigh went up from the members of the Osborn Island Residents Association Dredging Committee when the Little Egg Harbor Township Committee approved a $1.3 million contract to dredge parts of their lagoons. There wasn’t enough energy to cheer. The group has been at it for almost seven years – soliciting donations, jumping administrative hurdles at the state Department of Environmental Protection, Army Corps of Engineers and state Bureau of Tidelands, and at times themselves doubting it could be done.

During the Aug. 9 municipal meeting, Township Engineer Jason Worth gave a rundown of the most recent highlights of the project. On July 10, the township opened the bids and selected the lowest responsible bidder, Wickberg Marine Contracting of Belford. On July 14, the township met with Osborn Island residents in a special public meeting to explain the special tax assessment for the work. The cost to dredge the low points of four lagoons in Osborn Island will be approximately $1.5 million when including attorney fees and soft costs, and will result in a special tax assessment of $5,213 per waterfront property that can be paid in installments of approximately $579 a year for 10 years.

The township then sent out letters to ask the 336 residents affected by the special assessment if they approved, and the response was overwhelmingly in favor: Of 232 responses, 215 approved. Those who did not vote were counted as yeas.

“This is just the beginning,” said Mayor Ray Gormley. “We’re working as fast as we can. This is a clear statement on how important dredging is to our waterfront communities and the entire Little Egg Harbor.”

Worth said the contracts have been signed, and he would be requesting a pre-construction meeting with Wickberg.

“We only have four weeks to get this done with a start of early to mid-September. I hope we see a shovel in the ground and (will) be rocking and rolling,” said Gormley, answered with applause.

At the same time, the lagoons behind Ohio Drive, Louisiana and Iowa Court, plus “T” inlets from Ocean Boulevard that enter into Big Creek are being dredged, a shoreline restoration will be taking place on Iowa Court, also on Osborn Island.

“It’s likely these two projects will be going on at the same time. Those folks living on Iowa and Kentucky courts are going to be inconvenienced – I hope everyone understands that,” the mayor said. “We have a window of Sept. 1 to Dec. 31. There’s going to be a lot of activity, probably 2,000 dump trucks of mud (removed from the island). Please be patient; it’s going to be hectic down there. We’re going to be doing everything we can to get this done in a timely manner.” —P.J.

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