Boardwalk Redecking Project Underway

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

OCEAN CITY – The second phase of a complete re-decking of the Boardwalk got underway this week and, weather permitting, should be complete well in advance of the next summer season.

The complete re-decking of the Boardwalk has been on the town’s radar for the last couple of years and has been a regular fixture on the town’s capital improvement plan (CIP), a blueprint of sorts on when to schedule major projects and how best to fund them. The first phase of the Boardwalk re-decking plan was completed last year.

The first phase started at the north end of the Boardwalk at 27th Street and continued south to 15th Street. The first phase also included the section of the Boardwalk from the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum to the fishing pier, along with re-decking the Boardwalk at Sunset Park.

The second phase, which got underway this week, will complete the project from 15th Street to the fishing pier. Weather permitting, the second phase is expected to be completed by the end of April. 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.

For safety reasons, the town is asking that visitors and residents do not enter the portions of the Boardwalk under construction and observe the detoured areas in which work is underway. The Boardwalk remains fully open on weekends and holidays during the 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 a 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.

Then, the pandemic arrived, and the cost and availability of lumber soared, placing the re-decking project briefly on the backburner. 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. That shortage has eased somewhat, 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 thing. Plastic or concrete options were explored for cost and durability reasons, but in the end, it was determined the public would not sit still for anything other than southern yellow pine from a traditional standpoint and that is what is being used for the replacement.

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.