(July 6, 2018) With a $4.2 million initial estimate roughly triple the anticipated cost to install permanent vehicle barricades on the Boardwalk, the City Council asked the staff to research cost-cutting measures during its meeting Monday.
City Engineer Terry McGean told the council that the Hunt Valley-based engineering firm JMT, who installed the projects first phase of temporary measures in May, was retained to complete preliminary designs and pricing estimates for permanent access control barriers next spring.
“We got the number late last week and we’re just trying to digest it,” he said. “We need to move forward to get it in for next summer.”
The current plan calls for barriers to block vehicle access at 26 points along the Boardwalk, as well as the inlet parking lot.
McGean said early discussions about the project’s second phase included the possibility of only securing street ends at the inlet parking lot.
“We really have to secure the entire perimeter,” he said. “We can’t rely on the low level vegetation that’s out there to prevent a vehicle from accessing the lot.”
JMT consulting Engineer Mark Parker told the council the inlet lot portion of the project would be significant.
“The linear protection … is about 1,200 feet that is required to cordon off the parking lot from access points on the Boardwalk,” he said.
How to route trams around the south end of the Boardwalk was another issue McGean highlighted.
“The solution we came up with is placing the barrier … east of tram lane, which allows [it] to operate inside the barrier instead of going in and out constantly of a gated opening,” he said.
Parker said initial field studies identified a number of private properties with potential vehicle access points along the Boardwalk.
“We’re currently coordinating with the individual property owners to see if these areas can be included for permanent … access controls,” he said.
The projects protection measures would involve a combination of bollards, planters and concrete spheres, Parker said.
Both fixed and active access points, the latter required for authorized vehicles, would be included, Parker said.
“There are 12 spots that need gated or dynamic access, including two in the inlet area,” he said.
Aesthetic concerns were among a number of the project goals Parker reviewed.
“We recognize the Boardwalk has very specific architectural styles and finishes,” he said.
Establishing crash ratings for the barrier project was another priority Parker discussed.
“We did a complete full risk analysis for the town earlier this year,” he said. “We calculated the risk levels at all the different access points and also a minimum crash rating standard.”
Parker also noted system design plans factored in prolonged exposure to wind, water and sand.
“We need to make sure our systems are very durable to hold up to both natural and manmade environments,” he said.
Looking at typical costs for material, Parker said a three-bollard array costs about $8,500, with a single bollard running about $3,400.
McGean said the prices are just for parts, with installation extra.
“These are much more involved than sticking a pipe in the ground,” he said.
Parker said concrete planters covering a pair of bollards costs about $2,500, with a concrete sphere-shaped bollard costing around $4,500.
McGean said the concrete spheres are being proposed for the Boardwalk’s North Division Street entrance to create a “visual plaza finish.”
“It’s a gateway to town and we wanted to keep that feel,” he said. “Incorporating nicer elements at that street we thought was important.”
Councilman Wayne Hartman asked if the proposed concrete planters could be reconfigured as large cement ashtrays to reduce discarded cigarette butts.
Councilman Tony DeLuca said discussions already are taking place with McGean and Public Works Director Hal Adkins to establish smoking areas with ashtrays.
“We’re looking at using vertical cylinders like on the beach and giving people places to smoke west of the Boardwalk away from entrances,” he said. “We’ll do it in conjunction with this.”
Among the cost-reduction measures McGean mentioned were: reducing the number of automatic and manual gates, lowering material crash ratings or using potentially less aesthetically pleasing alternatives, such as cable barriers or railings.
“You’re getting some cost savings but sacrificing goals,” he said.
Mayor Rick Meehan, while not discounting fiscal concerns, said public safety remains the top priority.
“We all believe if we do this we have to do it right and provide the level of protection we’re looking for,” he said.
Meehan also asked if manual gates could replace some of the half dozen proposed automatic gates.
McGean said automatic gates do add extra cost.
“The installation is considerably more expensive than manual gates,” he said.
McGean said the projects first phase of temporary barriers would be removed by mid-October with work needing to begin later that month to have permanent measures in place by next May.
Because of the much higher cost estimates, Council president Lloyd Martin asked McGean to return with new cost figures as soon as possible.