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Long Branch Boardwalk Construction Contract Awarded

LONG BRANCH: The final step needed for work to begin on the city's Hurricane Sandy-damaged boardwalk has been taken.

The Long Branch Council awarded a $14.4 million contract to George Harms Construction Company Inc. to rebuild the bluff, boardwalk and repair the roadway and curbing from Brighton Avenue to Morris Avenue.

City Engineer Gerry Freda said the city received 15 bids for the project on April 16 and after a legal review it was determined that George Harms, based out of Howell, was the best option for the city.

"They're a very reputable firm, very capable of doing the job and their price was spot on," Freda said.

The city will now enter into a contract phase with George Harms and have a pre-construction meeting with the goal of starting construction by June 1 with substantial completion of the boardwalk and bluff by Memorial Day, 2016.

Freda said that although it took the city longer than expected to receive the necessary approval from FEMA and other agencies to build the new boardwalk, the patience was worth it because the new structure will be larger and better than the original.

"It took a little longer to get here but we have gotten here with a much better project," Freda said.

FEMA has committed to pay for 90 percent of the total cost of the project with the city paying the remainder.

The boardwalk will be located in the same footprint as the old structure, but it will be 6 feet wider from Brighton Avenue to South Bath Avenue and 10 feet wider from South Bath Avenue to Morris Avenue.

Three pavilions with concession stands and bathrooms will also be included in the project. The one located at Cottage Place will only have a bathroom but will have space for what will later become concessions, office or storage space, Freda said. The goal is to have the pavilions built by mid-July, 2016.

New LED lighting and railing will also be installed and be similar to what is currently located in Pier Village.

There will be 10 access points from Brighton Avenue to Morris Avenue, four of which will be handicap accessible. The handicap accessible beaches will be Cottage Place, West End Avenue, North Bath Avenue and Pavilion Avenue.

The city will also replace the stairs located at Brighton Avenue using its own funds to create another access points as FEMA said it would not fund that portion of the project.

All the boardwalk, stairs and ramp decking will be made of a composite material while the rest of structure will be timber.

Construction will begin during the summer and last through the winter and spring months.

The city will keep the public updated on the process and on any road or access point closures that will occur as a result of the construction.

"We will have them leave the existing stairs down to the beach for as long as they can," Freda said.

Once they get through the area, if we have to build temporary stairs, we will do that," Long Branch DPW Director Fred Migliaccio said.

The final step will be to replace the curbing between the boardwalk and Ocean Avenue and the roadway will be repaired and milled and paved from the centerline to the easternmost curb. That should be completed by October, 2016.

Councilwoman Kathleen Billings said she was happy to see the project coming to fruition and thanked all those who helped make it a reality.

"I am looking forward to our new boardwalk," Councilwoman Kathleen Billings said.

The only portion of the boardwalk that will not be built by George Harms will be the area from Morris Avenue to Melrose Terrace. Freda said that section is located in the future area for Pier Village Phase 3 and will be completed by the developer, Kushner Companies, and will not be "city-driven."

Read more from: Long Branch

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