Boardwalk Access Project To Start With Bid Awarded

OCEAN CITY — The preliminary bids for the first phase of the Boardwalk access control project came in considerably under budget, but that does not mean there will be added enhancements for the coming season.

After a handful of domestic and international events when terrorists killed and injured dozens of victims by driving trucks and other vehicles into large public areas where people assembled, Ocean City officials began exploring ways to ramp up security in the form of vehicle access controls on the famous Boardwalk. Unauthorized vehicles are not allowed on the Boardwalk by law, but there are currently dozens of access points where a vehicle could reach the famed promenade.

To that end, resort officials began exploring a series of permanent and semi-permanent barrier systems, from gated access points that would allow police, fire, emergency vehicles and the beach patrol, for example, to access the Boardwalk to heavy planters and bollards in other areas that would prevent unauthorized vehicles from reaching Boardwalk crowds.

The project will be conducted in two phases with the first phase expected to be in place before the start of this summer season. The first phase will include some temporary gates at identified access points along with concrete jersey walls in other locations. The intent for the first phase is to have something in place for this summer season although it admittedly won’t be as aesthetically pleasing as the finished product after the second phase next year.

City Engineer Terry McGean on Monday told the Mayor and Council the low bid for the first phase came in under what was budgeted and recommended the first-phase contract be awarded to Apex Business Solutions. The low bid came in at just over $139,000 for the first phase of the Boardwalk access control project.

“Their bid was considerably lower than the other bidders,” McGean said. “A big part of this is the mobilization costs because it’s such a large area, but because they are a local company, they should be able to overcome that, which is why the price is down.”

McGean was asked if any of the budgeted funding still available because of the substantially low bid could be used to enhance the first-phase of the Boardwalk access control project. He said there was not much that could be added at this stage with the season rapidly approaching.

“There’s probably very little more we can do in this first phase at this point,” he said. “The only thing we are buying outright are the various gates, but a lot of this stuff we’re renting for one summer. Honestly, it’s the timing for this year and not necessarily the money.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.