County project to prevent saltwater intrusion

Published 5:47 pm Friday, February 9, 2018

A project Jefferson County has been working on for a long while is nearing a start date.

An award for siphon control structures at Oilcut Ditch and Salt Bayou at the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway for Jefferson County will be given to MK Constructors for $6,699,693. The announcement will be made at the regular meeting of the Jefferson County Commissioners Court at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12 at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 1149 Pearl St. in Beaumont.

Fred Jackson, assistant to the county judge, said the siphons construction is to maintain freshwater viability. The Intracoastal Waterway under the McFaddin Wildlife Refuge and J.D. Murphree Wildlife Refuge marshes.

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“Salinity levels are rising and Tropical Storm Harvey brought saltwater intrusion,” he said.

A letter from LJA Engineering to Don Rao, county engineer read bids were received on the Siphon Control Structures at Oilcut Ditch and Salt Bayou project on January 9. Three complete bids were received. A tabulation of the bids is attached to this letter. The base bids were as follows:

Contractor                                                   Base Bid

MK Constructors                                       $6,699,693.20

Brystar Contracting, Inc.                         $9,214,836.00

Structural Assurance, LLC                     $10,097,097.10

MK Constructors submitted the lowest bid in the amount of $6,699,693.00.

The bids have been reviewed and the bidder’s qualifications evaluated.

Likewise, the commissioners will consider a project cooperation agreement between the county and the Texas General Land Office relating to coastal restoration projects.

Jackson said this is part of the recovery program and administration of the program.

Lastly, the court will consider participating in the public assistance alternative procedures for direct administrative costs pilot program for Hurricane Harvey. This allows the county to receive up to 5 percent in administrative costs on the county’s Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance projects.

Patrick Swain, county auditor, said there was a couple of ways the county can get money from FEMA for administrative costs.

After Hurricane Rita, it was done on a sliding scale with a certain percentage. For Ike, the county was paid per project by filling out a worksheet and keeping track of time.

“It was a bookkeeping nightmare,” Swain said. “Now they will give us 4 percent of the money from FEMA to offset administrative costs. We will get an extra 1 percent if we close out the project. This will alleviate tracking of time per project. This way is much better. We have a damage list of 400 items.”