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GAO Denies GLDD Bid Protest

On June 8, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied a protest from Great Lakes Dredge and Dock over the cancellation of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contract for beach renourishment in Cape May County, New Jersey, on which Great Lakes was low bidder.

Great Lakes protested the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to cancel an invitation to bid for beachfill and sand dune construction for the Absecon Island Shore Protection Project. The Corps said it cancelled because the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has yet to acquire partial property easements from the City of Margate and two private oceanfront property owners.

Great Lakes argued that the Army Corps should not have cancelled the solicitation, but to postpone it until legal issues are resolved. It said competitors could undercut its low bid in a subsequent solicitation.

Great Lakes was one of two bidders for the project that encompassed a portion of Ventnor, all of Margate and Longport. Great Lakes’ low bid of $40,979,819 beat a bid by Weeks Marine, Inc. of $48,868,685.

The original bids were submitted on October 28, 2014; the bid solicitation was extended twice during Margate’s challenge in federal court to stop the project, which was supported by local property owners.

The Corps cancelled its invitation to bid on the project and said “it was in the public interest to cancel the solicitation because the legal challenges to the real estate acquisitions for the project had not been resolved,” and that “award of the contract under pending litigation would pose a significant risk to the government,” according to the decision published by the Comptroller General of the United States.

GAO general counsel Susan A. Poling wrote in her decision, “We find the Corps’ decision to cancel the IFB reasonable under the circumstances described above. The Margate litigation, and the indeterminate delays that are likely to result from the required condemnation proceedings, provided compelling reasons for the Corps to cancel the solicitation.”

 

The bid protest decision can be read online at www.gao.gov/products/B-411207.

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