ATLANTIC CITY — Paving Pacific Avenue has been the brunt of many jokes in recent years as longtime city residents have heard several unfilled promises about when work would begin.
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority now promises relief is on the way as the board accepted a $6.3 million bid from Atlantic City-based L. Feriozzi Concrete Company to begin construction next month.
The move follows two failed attempts by the authority to garner successful bids. After the last failed attempt earlier this year, officials initially said work would have to wait until after the summer season.
That’s no longer the case.
Work is now expected to begin May 15, officials said. But it will still be some time before the bumps disappear from the roadway. The contract extends through Jan 31, 2015
“For Christmas, you can skateboard down the street,” Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, also a CRDA board member, joked when a resident asked about the project’s timeline.
Another board member, Richard Tolson, pointed out a discrepancy to be corrected in board documents regarding the amount of contingency funding for the contract.
“Given the issues with this, I think we should correct this,” Tolson said.
The first CRDA solicitation for the work was returned in October 2013, but none of the bidders gave a schedule for the work to be completed. That resulted in the bids being declared defective. In a second solicitation, only one bid was received, which was higher than the engineer’s estimate.
Four bids were received in the third solicitation, and Feriozzi’s fell within the estimate.
While the work will begin in May, Guardian said it isn’t expected to disrupt summer tourists. Between May and August most of the work will involve tearing up the concrete sidewalks and ensuring that crossings are now compliant with standards set in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The majority of the work that will disrupt traffic and re-pave the roadway won’t occur until September, following the Miss America Competition, Guardian said.
“I see this as a good day for the city. All across the board we have projects that will beautify the city and make it more attractive for everyone,” Guardian said.
Pacific Avenue paving was just one of several projects CRDA advanced Tuesday.
It also gave final approval to support a $35 million renovation project at Tropicana Atlantic City Casino and Resort, first announced last month. The CRDA will supply $18.8 million in funding for the project, which is expected to transform the casino’s appearance, particularly from the outside.
Towers will be painted, a light and sound show on the Boardwalk will be added, and projection screens will be used to spruce up some of the casino’s least attractive corners.
The casino also plans to add a health club that will be accessible by hotel guests as well as the general public. Tropicana President and CEO Tony Rodio said the casino is in talks with local operators who would run the gym.
Board members questioned Rodio about about the design of some of the upgrades, asking whether revisions could be made to ensure the casino’s Boardwalk renovations would be of the highest quality. Guardian referenced technology with a “wow factor” that could be used for a light and sound show component but is still in development.
Rodio said changes can be made to ensure the casino has the most appealing result.
“We want to double wow,” Rodio said.
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