SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Three bids are under review by Surfside Beach Town Council to construct the long-awaited new pier.
The town council discussed the bids and current budget for the pier during their meeting on Tuesday night. However, some residents are concerned that the decision to select an engineer is being rushed.
“This is one of the biggest projects to happen in Surfside Beach and the most expensive thing going on in this town,” said resident Judy Henion.
After four years, the Town of Surfside Beach is the closest it’s been to beginning construction on a new concrete fishing pier after the old wooden one was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in 2016
The town has estimated the project will cost roughly $11 million and has received a majority of the funding from FEMA.
According to councilwoman Cindy Keating, the bids came in much higher than she expected.
“Right now we do not know what the total cost of this project is going to be and there are certain items in these bid documents that are the responsibility of the town that are not cheap items,” said Keating.
After nearly 20 minutes of discussion, the town council chose not to award the bid at this time and instead have each bidder present a detailed plan in front of the Surfside Beach Town Council to address concerns and answer questions.
“That’s something we should do quickly I think,” said Surfside Beach Town Councilman David Pellegrino
Councilmembers Paul Holder and Debbie Scoles agreed the decision needs to be made responsibly, but quickly.
“I don’t want to wait 30 days, I want to do this as quick as possible,” said Holder.
According to the Surfside Beach Town Administrator Dennis Pieper, the town council has until October 15, 2020, to start the construction on the new pier or they’ll forfeit the money granted by FEMA.
“You gotta get it going,” said Pieper.
If the project begins by October 15, the FEMA funding is good through 2022.
“Okay, so the town administrator is going to get the engineers together and well have a meeting to discuss this,” said Mayor Bob Hellyer.
The building of the pier could take about 18 months to complete.
During that time, the pier parking lot may be closed to house construction equipment, which could limit the number of parking spots for beachgoers and limit the town’s parking revenue.