The Fayette County Commission has awarded a $1,449,140 bid for dredging of Lake Peachtree to Massana Construction, Inc.

Massana handled the lake’s dredging back in 2003 and was able to turn in what was by far the lowest bid this year. Brent Scarbrough & Co. submitted a bid of $3.75 million while Waterfront Property Services came in around $3.68 million.

County Administrator Steve Rapson explained that the majority of the cost of the dredging is hauling and removal of material, and Massana had arranged to take the dirt from the lake and sell it to be used for a commercial application, thus reducing the cost to the county.

“In essence, what they’re doing is they’re basically splitting the cost and having the folks that are going to buy the dirt for the commercial application pay for half of it, and we’re going to pay for the other half,” Rapson said. “This is a good example of a local vendor working with the county, who’s done this project before, that’s passing along the benefit of that particular job.”

So rather than pay $2.8 million to $3 million for the work, the county will pay roughly half.

The scale of the dredging will be much larger this time around compared to previous dredging projects. Rapson explained that this dredging project is set to remove around 64,000 cubic yards of material as opposed to roughly 20,000 during the last dredging. Rapson said this amount of material, stacked on one square acre of land, would be 48 feet high.

The dredging is expected to take from February until the end of May. In that time, Rapson said there will be an average of 100 truckloads of dredged material moving out per day, for a total of around 6,400 truckloads.

The original Massana bid was uniquely unfavorable to Peachtree City, which had joined in the county’s bidding process in order to obtain different pricing options for potential additional dredging.

The county is contractually required to dredge a certain amount of the lake in exchange for withdrawing water from the city owned lake, per a 1966 agreement that was updated in 1985.

The city, on the other hand, does not have to do any dredging, but the possibility of doing some extra dredging around the edges of the lake has been discussed. The city elected to join the county bid for this project in order to obtain pricing options.

The city asked for bids in seven different potential dredging zones, as well as four zones in which the overgrown vegetation on the lake bed needs to be cut and removed.

The city’s engineer, Integrated Science and Engineering, has recommended some or all of the vegetation be removed.

Massana’s bid for that work was substantially higher than either of the other two bidders. For example, clearing and removal in zone one would cost $2,500 per acre with Brent Scarbrough and $1,000 per acre with Waterfront, whereas Massana was asking $20,000 per acre.

Representatives from Massana met with Peachtree City Engineers to negotiate those prices. Rapson said at Thursday’s meeting that the bids were reduced. In the four zones, Massana reduced its per-acre bid from $20,000 to $5,000 in zones one and two and from $20,000 to $6,500 in zone 4. In Zone 3, which only includes one acre, the bid was reduced from $40,000 to $6,500.

The Massana bid is still more than twice as expensive as the next bidder for vegetation removal.

If the city were to remove vegetation out of all four zones, comprising 44 acres, the cost would have been $44,000 with Waterfront and $110,000 with Brent Scarbrough. WIth new bid figures, Massana is asking $235,000.

For the optional dredging, the city broke bids down into six zones around the lake plus a bid for removal of “snake island.” Massana came in the middle of these bids at around $602,000 for all six zones as opposed to $502,000 for Waterfront and $846,000 for Brent Scarbrough.

That total price tag accounts for around 20,000 cubic yards of dredged material. The city may choose to do some portion of that dredging, all of it, or none.

Massana and Waterfront each bid $2,450,000 for removal of “snake island,” which is itself 98,000 cubic yards of material. Brent Scarbrough bid $3,136,000.

Peachtree City Manager Jim Pennington said Friday that council will probably discuss alternatives for dredging at its next meeting. He reiterated that there has been no decision yet and no money committed from the city’s end.

“Our biggest concern as a city is starting the [county’s] base dredge and move forward,” Pennington said. “I told Steve [Rapson] just move forward with the base dredge. Let’s get this thing dredged out.”