In a significant move impacting the coastal community of Chesapeake Beach, MD, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District (USACE), recently announced a pause in the South Jetty Rehabilitation and Maintenance Dredging Contract at Fishing Creek due to higher-than-anticipated costs. The dredging portion of the contract, assigned to White Lake Dock & Dredge, Inc. in August 2022 (Contract W912DR22C0037), has already been completed, leaving the jetty rehabilitation works in limbo.

The contract included two core components: dredging Fishing Creek’s federal channel and rehabilitating its South Jetty, both crucial for maintaining the town’s waterways and infrastructure. Following the completion of the dredging, post-operation surveys confirmed the removal of approximately 28,000 cubic yards of dredged material, thereby clearing the federal channel.

However, the USACE found the actual expenses far exceeded the original survey estimates that formed the foundation of the contract’s budget. As a result, the remaining funds will not suffice to meet the requirements to rehabilitate the South Jetty, one of the primary components of the Fishing Creek project.

Consequently, on June 2, 2023, the USACE terminated the work under contract W912DR22C0037. As per the termination notice, the contractor, White Lake Dock & Dredge, Inc., is expected to withdraw all materials and equipment from the project location in due course.

The news of the project’s termination has resonated throughout Chesapeake Beach. The Town officials received formal notification from the USACE, emphasizing that future work is heavily contingent on obtaining additional project funds. This implies a potential delay in the jetty rehabilitation process, causing uncertainty and concern among the local residents.

The USACE, however, remains resolute in its commitment to the project. It plans to request additional funding to complete the south jetty rehabilitation in future fiscal years, although the timing remains uncertain. The pause in the project underscores the importance of adequate funding in maintaining crucial public infrastructure.

The project’s halt at the half-way mark highlights the strategic importance of the South Jetty Rehabilitation and its significant role in ensuring the town’s maritime safety. The USACE’s commitment to seek future funding is a step in the right direction, and the town eagerly awaits the resumption of the project.

This development highlights the importance of accurate cost estimation and efficient fund allocation in infrastructure projects. It is a stark reminder that unexpected circumstances can significantly impact the budgeting of such large-scale projects.

Until additional funding becomes available, the residents of Chesapeake Beach will look forward to the day when the project’s completion can once again become a reality, reinforcing the importance of the South Jetty for the community’s safety and prosperity. The halted project’s ripple effects will continue to be felt until then, underscoring the significance of sustainable funding for public infrastructure projects.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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