Docks and Harbors developing a 45-ton hydraulic lift plan

The city’s Docks and Harbors board is moving forward with a 45-ton hydraulic lift plan for the Statter Harbor/Auke Bay area.

URS Corporation presented several options for a 45-ton capacity lift and a 75-ton lift.

The study, presented by URS engineer Matthew Sill, looked at hydraulic lifts because they won’t require a boarding float or trestle.

The 45-ton is able to lift boats up to 60 feet long and is easier to maneuver than a 75-ton device. The study outlined pros and cons of each concept, and one downside to this lift is that some larger commercial fishing vessels still won’t have lift capabilities here.

The 75-ton lift, which could lift boats up to 90 feet long, would service nearly all vessels in Juneau, however its size would make it difficult to maneuver at both sites.

The study also weighed the pros and cons of Auke Bay Harbor versus Statter’s small boat harbor, and Statter had the fewest negatives. Pluses for Statter were nearby parking, room for three more vessels in the boat yard, weather protected location, washdown area close to top of haulout ramp. The cons included the need for substantial site improvements, the harbor’s current congestion would grow worse and pedestrian traffic cuts across the ramp.

The benefit of Auke Bay is there is an existing facility, meaning lower development costs. The negatives, though, including less convenient parking, an unprotected ramp, a narrow site that restricts number of vessels, conflicts between loading and boat yard activities and a washdown area that is distant from the ramp.

The cost of locating the lift at Auke Bay is $870,000 for a 45-ton lift, $2.08 million at Statter Harbor. For the 75-ton lift, it would cost $1.22 million at Auke Bay and $2.53 million at Statter.

Currently, the city owns two travel lifts. One is downtown and is 35 tons, one is in Auke Bay and is 20 tons.

Port Director John Stone recommended the 45-ton hydraulic lift, as it would serve 90 percent of the vessels. He said if they went to the 75-ton lift it would service 3-4 percent more, but ideally if they wanted to service all Juneau vessels it should look at a 150-ton lift in the long term.

“Forty-five (tons) for sure,” Stone said. “Another 10 tons is going to be superb.”

The board unanimously approved development of the 45-ton lift. It sends further questions back to its Community Improvement Program committee, which will hash out whether Docks and Harbors will staff it or contract staffing out, as it currently does.

The site also has to be decided, but the financing would likely come through a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant, which means the lift would have to serve Auke Bay for at least a portion of the year.

The board was also expected to enter an executive session to discuss and possibly approve a new Port Director for the city.

However, that session and the resumption of the public portion of the meeting had not begun as of press time.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at sarah.day@juneauempire.com.

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