Old debris hinders ramp work

Published 5:10 pm Monday, December 24, 2018

Removal will add to cost of boat ramp

By Frederic Lee

Staff writer

Smithfield town staff told Town Council that “hundreds of truckloads” of old brick and cement debris remain at Clontz Park, where construction of a public boat ramp is underway. 

To get rid of it could run into six figures, said William Saunders, Smithfield director of planning, engineering and public works.

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The remains of a former Gwaltney packing plant on the property are evidenced by underground cement and brick foundational material that was recently discovered during construction. The brick was about three feet deep in places, according to Saunders, adding that the cement was about two feet thick in certain spots as well.  {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

“As the plans are developed today, we’re talking about the potential of hundreds of dump truck loads coming out, and hundreds of dump truck loads going back in (for the boat ramp),” said Saunders at the Dec. 18 Public Buildings and Welfare Committee meeting. 

“Whether (the debris) goes to a landfill or private filling area, we’re looking at an over six-figure change order,” said Saunders about the overall boat ramp project. The amount to be paid to Docks of the Bay LLC. before the old foundation was discovered was $802,500. 

The change order’s price tag largely depends on whether or not the material can be disposed of privately. As a potential solution, staff and council discussed seeking out private landowners in the county who could use the debris as fill in order to take it off the town’s hands. 

The idea serves as an alternative to delivering the debris to a certified trash facility, which, according to Saunders, would require the brick and cement be sorted from the dirt and cost “$1,000 per truck.” 

Saunders said, however, that town staff is “getting to the bottom of” what the bid document says pertaining to land spoils, and whether regulations are already set that would prevent the foundation remnants from being disposed of privately. 

“This is Isle of Wight,” said Mayor Carter Williams, “(and) there’s a lot of ravines and stuff that farmers and individuals would love to fill in. It might take two or three of them if it’s that many truckloads, but I’m sure that people that we know … might want some.”

Up to 3,000 cubic yards of foundational material will be needed to replace the groundwork as part of the boat ramp project once the old debris is removed, according to Saunders. 

Smithfield Foods deeded the land for the boat ramp to the town of Smithfield and construction of the ramp will be completed by Docks of the Bay LLC.  {/mprestriction}