Buxton beach project will miss contract deadline by 2 months

By on November 6, 2017

The contractor has made progress in recent weeks. (Dare County)

Plagued by storms passing offshore, the Buxton Beach nourishment project is two months behind schedule and will not be finished until at least mid-February.

Weeks Marine will ask for a contract extension to avoid liability for damages to Dare County, commissioners were told Monday.

Haiqing Liu Kaczkowski of Coastal Science and Engineering, which is leading the project, told the Board that Weeks had lost more than a month of work after four storms generated waves far beyond the safe maximum for dredging operations.

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The dredge C.R. McCaskill had to steam to safe harbor in Norfolk, then return to resume work.

Between Aug. 23 and Oct. 11, wave heights consistently exceeded the limit of 5 feet, and in the case of Hurricane Maria at the end of September, peaked at more than 25 feet in the offshore area where dredges were pulling up sand for the project.

The contract called for the project to be finished by Dec. 15. The Board of Commissioners will consider by then whether to grant an extension, Chairman Bob Woodard said. Otherwise, the company could be liable for up to $10,000 for each day the project is delayed.

Nourishment was 46 percent finished by Monday, Kaczkowski said. Plans for the $22.15 million project call for 2.6 million cubic yards of sand to be pumped onto the shoreline, primarily to protect N.C. 12, which has regularly flooded during storms. The length of the project is about 2.9 miles.

County Manager Bobby Outten said county officials and the contractors have been meeting every Wednesday for updates on plans and progress.

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“Short of taking a shoe and beating it on the table, we’ve pressed them as hard as we possibly could on those questions,” Outten said.

A clause in the contract says that the contractor can be granted an extension of time equal to the loss of days for factors beyond its control, including “abnormal weather conditions.”

In addition to the storms, wave heights had been higher than the historical average between July and October, Kaczkowski said.

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She said Weeks had made significant progress since Oct. 11, pumping 261,500 cubic yards onto the beach in the 26 days since then.

A new, larger hopper dredge is scheduled to be on site soon, but no others are available to speed up the project.

The project is bonded, so if for some reason Weeks cannot finish the work, the county will be in a position to find someone else, Outten said.

“So the project will get finished,” he said. “The issue is going to be when.”

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Comments

Sean

Wednesday, Nov 8 6:48 am

You can’t stop mother nature. It’s not the contractors fault and they shouldn’t be held accountable for her actions. It’s not a small job either. I like where I live and don’t want to see it vanish. They do this in all the big city’s up and down the east coast so don’t act like this nourishment is only happening here. Get over it. Again I like where Im from and live.

OBX Resident

Tuesday, Nov 7 1:25 pm

Let’s hope that they continue pumping in the manner that they have over the last several months. They have created an unbelievable sandbar for surfing. Let them continue incremental pumping indefinitely.

Ray Midgett

Tuesday, Nov 7 9:36 am

There can be only one word to describe this fiasco…”Stupid”. One can forgive the contractor much easier than the county commissioners who bent over backwards in going forth with this stupid project in that particular area.

Comments are closed.