CAPE CHARLES, Va. — The Town of Cape Charles is set to continue its efforts to enhance the Town Harbor with the aid of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) Aid to Local Ports (ALP) grants. These grants have been instrumental over the years in supporting various harbor improvement projects.
Cape Charles has leveraged ALP grants, which cover up to 75% of capital projects, to bolster its harbor infrastructure. The grants have been pivotal in financing critical rehabilitation and maintenance initiatives, ensuring the harbor remains operational.
According to town officials, a recent grant totaling $228,687 was allocated for the rehabilitation of the inner harbor bulkhead in the current fiscal year. The project was divided into three phases, with Phases 1 and 2 already underway and nearing completion. However, due to higher-than-expected bids, only these initial phases were awarded contracts.
The town had hoped to award a contract for all three phases of the project, but the bids were higher than expected. The work is close to completion, and the town should be able to make the final contract payment and submit the final grant reimbursement soon.
The rehabilitation project aims to address significant damage sustained by the bulkhead, particularly in sections where large commercial vessels frequently dock. The evaluation conducted by Langley & McDonald revealed that approximately 54% of the bulkhead’s total length requires rehabilitation to replace severely damaged components.
Most of the king piles and many of the lower horizontal wales in these areas have been damaged by side-to docking of large commercial vessels.
With Phase 3 of the rehabilitation project on the horizon, the town is preparing to seek additional funding from the VPA through a new grant application. This phase, encompassing the east and west sides of the harbor, is deemed a high priority in the town’s Capital Asset Management Program (CAMP).
The estimated cost for Phase 3, including price escalation, contingency, and construction administration, is $221.5K. A maximum grant of 75% would fund $166.1K of the project.
However, securing full funding for Phase 3 is uncertain, given that the ALP program allocates only $1 million annually. Nevertheless, Cape Charles officials are optimistic about the prospects of a substantial award, possibly up to 50% of the project cost, owing to the town’s track record of effectively utilizing previous grants.
The town share would need to be included in the FY 2025 budget.
The Town Council will take up the grant during the next Regular Meeting on February 15, 2024.