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Next phase of canal dredging plan due for vote

By Staff | Nov 22, 2011

Cape Coral City Council will be asked next week to embark on the second phase of a city-wide master dredging plan that would eventually lead to the city’s canals getting the attention they’ve lacked for years.

Survey work for the first phase focused on canals in the southeastern part of the city, which equated to 19 total miles and 53 different locations that need dredging.

The second phase of the survey work will focus on the southwestern portions of the Cape. Total mileage and locations will be determined when the survey work is complete.

The previous council awarded dredging operations to Gator Dredging, located in Pinellas Park, Fla.

Should council approve the second phase, it would cost the city $477,307.77, which in-cludes a city-controlled contingency of $3,681.04.

The approval also carries an additional $10,408.33 for the first phase.

Gator Dredging previously bid 150,000 cubic yards of dredging at $9.91 per cubic yard.

Including mobilization, Gator’s total cost for city-wide dredging was over $1.5 million.

That was prior to the company embarking on a city-wide master dredging plan, so it’s unknown whether that price will stand once dirt eventually starts to be turned.

In 2008, the city spent $1,313,797 on its dredging program, at $10.59 a cubic yard. The next year, 2009, saw those costs increase slightly with the total cost at $1,189,801 and $10.62 per cubic yard. Last year the city spent $484,602 on dredging at $5.16 per cubic yard.

That work was performed by city staff, but the city has since auctioned off two of the three dredges it owns.

Councilmember Marty McClain worried the bid was representative of the true costs associated with using an outside company.

“They were significantly low on the dredge portion,” McClain said. “Is the low price really the low price at the end of the day? The RFP (request for proposal) had a lot of questions or they’d be out there dredging right now.”

The city recently received a 10-year permit from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to dredge its canals but lacked a master plan.

City Manager Gary King said Gator Dredging has a pay-for-performance contract, getting paid for only what they remove.

Councilmember Derrick Donnell said the situation is comparable to that of the many roads in the north that need repair. Once the master plan is complete, the next step is going to be figuring who gets their canals dredged first.

“The most important question is how do we determine the criteria of what gets dredged,” Donnell said.

City Council will vote on the second phase of the dredging plan next Monday.