Moratorium hinders pier constructution

Published 7:45 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Although it was supposed to been started in February, the pile driving for the People’s Pier project won’t begin until August, according to city officials.

The pile driving can’t happen from now until August to protect the spawning areas of certain fish species. In previous years, other projects that included pile-driving work were disrupted for the same reason.

In 2009, pile-driving work associated with the construction of the U.S. Highway 17 bypass bridge was halted for several months. The moratorium was developed to protect some species of fish as they migrate upriver to spawn. State policy requires that activities potentially creating an environment not conducive to spawning be suspended until spawning season concludes.

In October 2014, the City Council awarded an $83,124 contract to Sawyer’s Residential & Marine Construction to build the Peoples Pier and erect the pier’s gazebo-like structure.

Sawyer’s Residential & Marine Construction submitted the low bid among the three bids received by the city. DB&H Commercial Contractors submitted a $142,300 bid, while TJ’s Marine Construction submitted a $101,800 bid.

The city budgeted $150,000 for the project.

Councilman Bobby Roberson asked for an update on the pier project during the council’s meeting Monday. He said he’s been receiving comments about the project’s progress.

City Manager Brian Alligood said the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources informed the city that work pile-driving work associated with the pier project cannot begin until Aug. 1. “We anticipate about two weeks of pile-driving there,” he said.

Alligood said DENR compromised with the city regarding the pile-driving moratorium. The department initially wanted the city to wait until later in the year before beginning such work, he said.

Alligood said the project should be completed by the Nov. 30 deadline specified in the grant agreement between the city and state. The city is using grant money to help pay for the project.

Roberson expressed concerns about the contractor meeting the deadline.

“The conversation we had with him is that he will be onsite and ready to drive piles the first day that they are allowed to do in-water work,” Alligood said.

Mercer said if the contractor had been on site by Feb. 1, as he agreed to, the pilings would have been installed by Feb. 15 “and the pier would have been in.”

In response to an inquiry from Mercer, Allen Lewis, the city’s public works director, told the council that a temporary certificate of occupancy for the new terminal building at Washington-Warren Airport was expected to be issued Tuesday (April 28). Lewis said he did not know when the new terminal would be completed.

Alligood said the N.C. Department of Labor has not inspected the building’s elevator. He also said the contractor is working on installing railings for the building’s terrace.

“They (builders) are into the $500-a-day liquidated damages. They have been for the last week,” said Alligood, referring to a penalty clause in the contract between the city and contractor.







About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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