Cranbury Township awards new contract for dredging of Brainerd Lake

Scott Jacobs

Cranbury officials are able to continue with plans to dredge Brainerd Lake later this year after awarding a $3.08 million contract for the project to SumCo Eco-Contracting.

The Cranbury Township Committee approved the awarded contract through a resolution at its May 24 virtual Township Committee meeting. The township had received four bids for the project, when bids opened on May 20.

SumCo Eco-Contracting, which is headquartered in Peabody, Massachusetts, is a heavy site civil construction firm that is focused on ecological and environmental improvement projects, according to the firm’s website.

Barring any issues or complications, the project is still set to be completed by the end of the year.

Township administrator Denise Marabello said that work being done prior to the actual dredging will be staging, prep work and the removal of the fish. Due to New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) guidelines the lake cannot be lowered prior to September.

The dredging of the lake, which is the process of removing sand, silt and debris from gradually filling the bottom of water bodies such as lakes, had been planned to start and be completed in the fall of 2020.

However, the project was delayed after the Township Committee terminated the $3.79 million contract bid from Tricon Enterprises, Inc. in 2020, due to not receiving adequate dewatering (removal and discharge of sediment-laden water) plans in time to lower the lake by Nov. 1 that year, officials had claimed.

The Township Committee authorized a settlement agreement and release. The township would pay $110,000 to Tricon.

In preparation for the rebidding process in 2021 and to making certain a bidder could complete the project, the Township Committee approved bidder pre-qualifications regulations in April.

The criteria allowed the township to seek firms in the bidding process that had the expertise to complete the project by the township’s specifications and the dredging experience needed to be awarded the contract.

The primary qualification recommended had been that only firms who hold one of two credentials are deemed qualified to bid.

The first credential is from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT), a contractor specialty class code for dredging (Class Code 12). The work consists of removal of earth in wet or submerged areas using conventional earth moving equipment. The second optional credential is the Division of Property Management and Construction (DPMC), classification code CO85 for dredging similar to the DOT qualifications.