Boardwalk Security Project Bids Reviewed

OCEAN CITY – While bids were opened for the second phase of the Boardwalk access control project and most came in at or near what was budgeted, no firm decision on the contractor was made this week.

In the last couple of years, after a handful of events in the U.S. and around the world during which terrorists killed and injured dozens of victims by crashing vehicles into large groups of people, Ocean City began exploring ways to ramp up security in the form of vehicle access controls on the Boardwalk. Unauthorized vehicles are not allowed on the Boardwalk, but there were dozens of access points where a vehicle could reach the famed promenade and its large crowds.

As a result, resort officials began exploring a series of permanent and semi-permanent barrier systems, from gated access points that would allow police, fire and emergency services to access the Boardwalk, to heavy planters, bollards and other barriers. The first phase was completed before this summer season as a stop-gap measure to make sure something was in place in the most sensitive areas including temporary gates and other barriers to prevent vehicles from accessing the Boardwalk and its big summer crowds. The first phase was admittedly not aesthetically pleasing, but served a purpose until the larger, more permanent second phase is installed.

Now, after months of planning, tweaking and redesigning, the second and more permanent phase is ready to be undertaken and the bids for the project were received and opened this week during Tuesday’s work session. City Engineer Terry McGean explained the second phase of the project was budgeted at around $2.9 million. When the bids were opened on Tuesday, nearly every one of them was at or near that threshold. One bid received came in at $1.9 million while a second came in at just over $2 million. The second bidder might have an advantage because of the town’s penchant for choosing a local bidder when all other components are more or less equal.

A third bid came in at over $3.3 million, while yet a fourth bid came in with two options, one at around $2.5 million and the other around $2.8 million. In a slight breach of bid-opening etiquette, new Councilman Mark Paddack made a motion to accept one of the lower bids opened on Tuesday and that motion died for lack of a second. Instead, a motion was made to accept all bids and remand them to staff for review and recommendations. That motion passed unanimously.

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.