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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Bridge Repairs Cost Nearly $12M; Alcohol OK’ed at Amanda’s Field Events

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By Al Campbell

In this report from the Board of County Commissioners Sept. 27 meeting:

  • A Bridgeton construction firm won nearly $12 million in contracts to repair five county bridges.
  • Acting on a request from the Upper Township Committee, the county amended a lease for Amanda’s Field, allowing the sale and consumption of alcohol.
  • A technical engineering firm had a $797,765 change order approved for work relating to the reconstruction of Sunset Boulevard in Cape May.
  • One-Stop Career Center was transferred to Human Services from Planning.
  • Oct. 6 was recognized as Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day.

CREST HAVEN – Repairs to five bridges throughout Cape May County won a Bridgeton firm four contracts that total nearly $11.9 million from the Board of County Commissioners Sept. 27.
South State Inc. was deemed the lowest bidder of five for the substructure repairs to the Mill Creek and Upper Thorofare bridges on Ocean Drive in Lower Township, according to County Engineer Robert Church. The contract for that work was $1.4 million.
Church said the bid was the lowest among the four firms and $600,000 underestimate for the $4.97-million contract to repair the Great Channel bridge on Ocean Drive. The project includes superstructure repairs and fender replacements. This one is not a toll bridge; the span is at Stone Harbor’s southern end. 
Church said $3.2 million of the cost would be funded by a federal grant.
Church was notified Sept. 20 of a giant sinkhole in the eastbound travel lane of the 104th Street Bridge in Stone Harbor.
After an underwater bridge inspection, Church said a report noted progressive deterioration of abutments but no failure of sheeting. 
The sinkhole is evidence that “a clear and present danger” exists. If left uncorrected, the resolution noted that the situation “will result in the inability to access the borough’s island community of the Carnival Bay section” of the borough.
South State was awarded an emergency $464,000 contract to correct the sinkhole, which will mean repairing timber abutments. 
Church estimated the project would remedy the situation for about 10 years. He estimated replacing the small bridge would cost about $2.5 million. 
On the Corson’s Inlet Bridge in Strathmere, as South State worked under a $151,841 contract approved April 12, 2022, it found “areas of concern” in the concrete decking. A change order for the extra work was approved for $27,575.

Alcohol OK’d at Amanda’s Field

A lease amendment was approved between the county and Upper Township Committee to allow the sale and consumption of alcohol at Amanda’s Field in Petersburg.
The large tract is used for various recreational purposes, including youth sports, jogging and riding paths, and a skate park. 
The 1999 lease agreement required the township to get county permission before enacting local rules and regulations.
The resolution noted the county “…is supportive of the ordinance and township’s desire to promote local breweries, wineries and distilleries at its events, as long as proper controls and protections are implemented.”
The township will enforce controls and protections to ensure the sale and use of alcohol is “maintained in a manner that is at all times and in every way consistent” with recreation and conservation set forth under state law. 

Sunset Boulevard Upgrades Planned

It will likely be three or four years in the future, but the county plans to make Sunset Boulevard (County Road 606) safe for bicyclists and pedestrians. 
A 2017 resolution hired the firm NV5, Inc., based in Hollywood, Florida, to develop alternatives for reconstructing the two-lane road linking Cape May and Cape May Point. 
Bicyclists had complained about the narrow roadway that made it unsafe to pedal as traffic sped past them. 
Concepts for the redevelopment were “endorsed” by the county and host municipalities. 
For its additional work, drafting contract documents, securing permits, coordinating utility relocation and creating right-of-way documents, the firm was awarded $797,765.

Career Center Shifts to Human Services

Under state law, counties are given wide latitude to make changes needed to modernize and improve services.
With that in mind, the county commissioners transferred the One-Stop Career Center from the Department of Planning to the Department of Human Services. 
The enabling resolution noted the board believes the action will “promote better efficiencies and coordination of services.”

Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day

Oct. 6 is recognized in New Jersey as Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day. 
County commissioners passed a resolution to heighten public awareness of the dangers of opioid abuse locally. 
In 2021, there were 63 suspected overdose deaths in the county, according to the state Office of the Attorney General.
The majority of those deaths were from heroin or other opiates.
The day’s purpose is to make the public aware of the potential for dependency on prescribed pain medicine and its link to heroin. 
The resolution states that prescription drug drop boxes are located in every police department countywide.
They are for the disposal of unused and expired medications.

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