Little Egg Clears Way for MUA to Begin Twin Lakes Boulevard Water/Sewer Project

Jun 28, 2017

The Little Egg Harbor Committee has waived the $21,000 in permit fees it would have required from the Little Egg Harbor Municipal Utilities Authority to help facilitate the Twin Lakes Boulevard project that will replace water and sewer lines.

The committee adopted the resolution waiving the fee during its June 8 meeting. Deputy Mayor Barbara Jo Crea recused herself as her husband sits on the MUA board.

The MUA awarded the construction bid in April to MSP Construction, based in Newark. “They were the lowest responsible bidder and came in under the $4 million (estimated cost),” said MUA Executive Director Earl Sutton in a June 27 telephone interview. The MUA has taken a loan from the NJEIT (New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust) at 1.3 percent interest rate that can be financed up to 30 years to pay for the project. The type of water main that is being replaced in Phase 1 of the project and the sewer main that will be replaced after the water main are made of high-strength plastic that will last up to 50 years, said Sutton. The old piping that is being replaced is made of concrete and subject to erosion by the salts in the groundwater.

The construction of the new water main began at the intersection of Radio Road and Lake Champlain where it intersects with Twin Lakes Boulevard and has proceeded halfway down Twin Lakes to where it intersects with Calabreeze. “For the most part, the trench has been dug in the shoulder of the road and the work is proceeding well. I want to thank the residents for their cooperation in parking off the street and there have been some detours,” said Sutton.

The trench is just 24 inches wide and it is filled at the end of the day’s work after the new pipe is laid. The old water pipes continue to service the area until the entire water main is done. The old pipe will then be left in the street and filled with caulking.

“The fortunate thing is not one of the customers will be without service during this operation,” said Sutton. And the MUA is adding water hydrants every 800 yards, something Twin Lakes did not have. “This should help residents with their homeowners insurance bills,” he added.

The MUA will pave both the water trenches and the sewer trenches with a base coat.

“The good thing is the township will be following us with stormwater drainage work and will pave the roads,” said Sutton.

The construction of the water and sewer mains in Twin Lakes will take about a year. The project also includes running leads in the side streets and stubbing them in anticipation of running new lines down each intersecting street starting with West Mohawk Drive, Mullica Road and Delaware Drive in 2018.

Sutton added that the MUA has been averaging between 11 and 15 customers a month coming back online since Superstorm Sandy in 2012, when they lost 700 customers.

During the June 8 meeting, Committeewoman Lisa Stevens moved to waive the road opening fee and Committeeman John Kehm seconded the motion, saying it would be an additional burden for the water utility ratepayers if they required the fee.

The committee then approved an ordinance that established a new Affordable Housing Zone and Mixed-Use Affordable Housing Zone. Two of the zones are on Mathistown Road and the third is between the Otis Bog Road Extension and Center Street.

Township attorney Jean Cipriani said the zones were required by the Superior Court settlement of an affordable housing lawsuit brought by a housing advocate.

Also on June 8, the township established a shared service agreement with the West Tuckerton Volunteer Fire Co. to allow the company to purchase fuel from the township public works, eliminating the sales tax and saving fire district taxpayers. The fire company will also pay a service charge to the township for oil changes done by public works.

Township engineer Jason Worth said he had looked into the holdup of the proposed commuter park and ride at interchange 58 of the Garden State Parkway. The Ocean County Soils District engineer told him the Pinelands Commission has asked for an additional study dealing with the endangered northern pine snake. “My best guess is that they (NJ Transportation Authority) will break ground in the fall.”

During the public portion of the meeting, Dave Fuller of Louisiana Drive and a member of the Osborn Island Residents Association asked about the progress of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant and project to replenish the salt marsh with dredge material from some lagoons and to create a living shoreline on the marsh nearest Iowa Court. The township and Tuckerton received the $2.1 million grant in May of 2015 and it has been said that there is now an additional $2 million shortfall needed to be raised to complete the project.

“Has Fish and Wildlife (overseer of the Great Bay Boulevard Wildlife Management Area where the dredge spoils are headed) signed off on the permits?” asked Fuller.

Township engineer Jason Worth said his firm is continuing to answer questions from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the project. “In the interim, the Army Corps of Engineers is getting comments on the permits from residents. Most of them are positive,” said Worth.

The township has reapplied for two grants to fill the shortfall, from the state Department of Environmental Protection and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Meanwhile, Kehm said the township has to have a plan for the entire waterfront and that there was “something in the works, but I can’t spill the beans.”

The next municipal meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 13 at 7:30 p.m.

— Pat Johnson

patjohnson@thesandpaper.net

 

 

 

 

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