Board Replacement Project Now Underway In Resort

Board Replacement Project Now Underway In Resort
Last year's first phase of the Boardwalk redecking project is pictured at 27th Street. Photo by Chris Parypa

OCEAN CITY — A major re-decking of the Ocean City Boardwalk is now underway with the first phase of a two-year project slated for the northernmost and southernmost sections.

The complete re-decking of the Boardwalk has been on the town’s radar for the last couple of years. The project has been a regular fixture in the town’s capital improvement plan (CIP) for funding in fiscal years 2022 and 2023 and will be done in two phases.

The first phase has started on the north end of the Boardwalk and will run from 27th Street south to 15th Street. The first phase also includes the section from the Ocean City Lifesaving Station Museum to the pier as well as Sunset Park, City Engineer Terry McGean confirmed this week. This year’s work is scheduled to be completed by mid-April, depending on weather and other factors.

The second phase scheduled for next offseason will finish the overall project from 15th Street south to the pier. The work is tentatively scheduled to begin next fall right after Columbus Day and be completed by April 2023.

The entire cost of the two-phase Boardwalk re-decking project is around $2.2 million, which is spread over two years in the town’s CIP. There are also some pier franchise lease funds totaling $100,000 in each year dedicated to the Boardwalk re-decking project.

The wooden sections of the Boardwalk were last replaced entirely in 2010 and 2011 with a life expectancy of 10 years, which put the project right in that window for replacement now. The urgency for the project first surfaced during strategic planning sessions over two years ago and it was identified as a priority in the capital improvement plan.

The pandemic arrived and the cost and availability of lumber soared, placing the re-decking project briefly on the back-burner. With lumber mills shutting down during COVID, and a high demand for treated lumber during the recent housing boom, the initial bids came in at roughly twice what was budgeted. The shortage has eased somewhat now and the town has been able to procure the necessary materials.

There has been talk over the years of replacing the Boardwalk with some other, more durable and long-lasting material, but resort officials have said often there is no substitute for the genuine article. Plastic or concrete options were explored for cost and durability reasons, but in the end, it was determined the traditional southern yellow pine was the best course.

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.