GREENBELT — The Greenbelt City Council voted on June 17 to award a $1.7 million contract to a Pennsylvania-based construction company for the Greenbelt Lake Dam Repair Project.
The multiphase project aims to repair and improve the safety of the dam, which is located at Buddy Attick Park. The project will include chimney filter and toe drain installation, embankment raising, replacement of the pedestrian bridge and spillway repair.
The dam, which is more than 80 years old, has never had any major repair work done. It is considered a “high-hazard dam” by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). In 2010, the state issued a consent order to the city requiring repair of the dam.
In 2017, Greenbelt voters approved to borrow up to $2.5 million to repair the dam and later received approval from the MDE Maryland Water Quality Financing Administration to finance the project. It was the first time in 16 years the city had asked voters for approval of a bond measure.
The winning bid – awarded to KC Construction during the June 17 council meeting – was almost $500,000 less than the next highest bid.
The funding is contingent upon MDE approval and the allocation of funding by the Maryland Board of Public Works as part of the city’s procurement and award recommendation process. While the city has received MDE approval, the board is not expected to meet until August to approve the project.
“It’s really pushing our timeline a lot,” said Mayor Pro Tem Judith Davis.
Director of Planning and Community Development Terri Hruby said the city is hoping to receive approval sooner. The city was hoping the project would begin in July, she said.
“We are going to be working and doing everything we can advocating for it to go sooner – the word is not middle of August, but there is a date in July that we are trying to work with MDE on whether we can get on that agenda,” Hruby said.
Mayor Emmett Jordan said the council would reach out to Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot and request expedited approval for the project.
Because the dam is considered a “high-hazard dam,” the department requires an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) which can help save lives and property in the event of a dam failure.
According to agenda documents, the city found during refence checks that KC Construction “are considered one of the best in the dam repair industry and have the personnel, qualifications and experience needed for this project.”
In its bid proposal, the construction company is proposing to use four businesses certified through the state’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program. The program is designed to increase cooperation between minority-owned businesses and the government and is a requirement of the MDE program.
Two of the subcontractors are in Prince George’s County – DAD Environmental Construction of Hyattsville and Largo-based Apex Petroleum Corporation.
“That’s good, at least some of our contractors are going to get that,” Davis said.
The city’s fiscal year 2020 Capital Projects Budget includes more than $2.2 million for the repair, which would cover any cost overruns, such as the cost to related to the removal of unusable materials and other increased costs.
Jordan voiced his concern about the amount of unusable material and rock and its disposal, and asked Hruby to provide more details as the project develops.
“The amounts of unusable materials will likely be substantial,” he said.
Once construction begins, the project is expected to be completed in about seven months, weather permitting. A more specific timeline will be available at the pre-construction meeting, which will be scheduled after the board approval.
The contractor has 140 business days to complete the project before they are penalized, Hruby said.
“The contractor has indicated their hope is to be able to perhaps work on more than one phase at a time, so we’ll be striving to complete the project as soon as possible.”