This story was originally published on March 21

OCEAN CITY — A $3.4 million Boardwalk reconstruction project is two years ahead of schedule, and the city is preparing to go out to bid this week on the final phase.

“What was originally planned as a seven-year project to completely rebuild the boardwalk’s substructure and decking from Fifth Street to 12th Street will be complete in five years,” Mayor Jay Gillian said in an open letter to residents Friday.

This week, the city is putting the finishing touches on the portion of the project from Moorlyn Terrace to 10th Street.

Gillian said the next and final phase, from 10th to 12th streets, will go out to bid Thursday, pending council approval. Work is expected to begin immediately after Columbus Day.

“The fast track not only saves money for taxpayers and limits the impact on boardwalk merchants, but it restores full year-round access to the countless number of Ocean City residents and guests who enjoy the boardwalk,” Gillian wrote.

The project has cost the city about $7.9 million over the past four years. The 2017 capital budget includes $4.7 million for reconstruction, $1.6 million for street-end improvements and $110,000 for Boardwalk pavilions.

The work began in fall 2013 with a $1 million project between Fifth and Sixth streets. The reconstruction includes replacing the concrete substructure and wood decking with all pine materials.