The Neptune Township Committee has rejected all bids for replacement of a collapsed portion of the Wesley Lake retaining wall.
All of the bids received by the July 17 deadline were rejected because they exceeded the available funding allotment and the engineer’s estimate for the project’s cost, said Leanne Hoffman, director of engineering and planning for Neptune Township.
Earlier in July, Hoffmann secured a $1.3 million grant from the National Resource Conservation Service — a federal agency that falls under the umbrella of the United States Department of Agriculture — for repairs to the wall and the dredging of Wesley and Fletcher Lakes.
Money from the Municipal Open Space Grant Program through the Monmouth County Park System and the township’s own capital improvement fund are also slated to be used to fund this portion of the project. The plan is to not only repair the portion of the wall that fell, but to construct a walkway behind the wall too, Hoffmann said.
The section of the wall that is in disrepair had already increased the cost of the repairs due to the State Historic Preservation Office [SHPO] guidelines, she said.
“Because the wall itself falls in the historic district of Ocean Grove, we have to construct a concrete wall, which is much more costly,” Hoffman said.
The method outlined within the initial request for proposal turned out to be “prohibitively expensive,” according to committee member Mary Beth Jahn.
The original proposal called for the removal of a portion of the retaining wall on the Ocean Grove side of Wesley Lake, the construction of supports, and a concrete replacement of the wall that would have been poured on-site.
“The cast concrete is extremely expensive,” said Jahn. “The bids were way beyond the grant.”
A new method will call for the removal of the damaged piece of the wall, buttressing and construction of a concrete panel wall built off-site, pending permits and approvals from SHPO and the Department of Environmental Protection, according to Hoffman.
The committee has given authorization to rebid the project based on the new method.