By Steve Plunkett 

    A federal contractor paid by the city will have its dredge off Boca Raton’s south beaches the first week of November. 

    City Council members waived normal bidding procedures Oct. 22 to take advantage of Marinex Construction Inc.’s contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to renourish Boca Raton’s north beaches with Hurricane Sandy money. 

    Assistant City Manager Mike Woika said the Marinex dredge could be offshore as soon as Nov. 1 and would have to leave Nov. 20 to begin its work on the north beaches. The city rushed to squeeze into the narrow window of time. 

    “It looks like it’s all going to fit together,” Woika said. 

    The city will pay $1.7 million for the south beach work, but expects the state to pick up 48.9 percent of the cost and the county to pay for 20 percent. That will leave the city’s share at $547,000. 

    “This renourishment project will not only provide additional storm protection to the properties within the project area, but also remove material from the mouth of the Boca Raton Inlet providing boaters with safer passage,” Jennifer Bistyga, the city’s coastal program manager, said in a report to the council. 

    The Corps of Engineers decided the north beach qualified for hurricane relief money as well as general construction funds. Boca Raton hoped to include its central beach renourishment in the piggyback contract with Marinex but discovered its Corps of Engineers permit had expired. The federal government shutdown and other issues blocked the city from renewing the permit in time, Bistyga said. 

    The city will see “significant savings” by getting the dredge work done under the federal contract’s unit pricing and also from lower mobilization costs, she said. 

    Boca Raton’s south beach is the area south of the inlet and South County Park . 

    The Corps of Engineers work includes renourishment projects off Delray Beach and Ocean Ridge. The total federal contract is for $10.8 million. 

    Boca Raton’s north beach project covers 1.4 miles of oceanfront, Ocean Ridge’s is 1.1 mile. The Delray Beach project is also about a mile long. 

    Bistyga said Marinex’s dredge will start off in south Boca Raton, then work in Ocean Ridge and Delray Beach before returning to north Boca Raton in February. 

    Charleston, S.C.-based Marinex will be the only contractor operating a hydraulic dredge in Palm Beach County from November to April, Bistyga said.

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