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Douglas Harbor remodel $3 million short

Posted: November 28, 2012 - 1:01am

Docks and Harbors is $3 million short of what it needs to complete a City and Borough of Juneau project to remodel the Mike Pusich Douglas Harbor.

Docks and Harbors has around $5.5 million of the $8.8 million needed to complete the project. Port Director Carl Uchytil announced the shortfall at the Docks and Harbors Finance Committee Meeting on Tuesday.

“The bad news is we need to close that gap somehow,” Uchytil said.

Uchytil said the city could pick from several options to assure the project’s completion — options which include a stop to work while the city petitions the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete the project. The city could also dredge the harbor and finish what construction can be done with existing funds, then build out as more money becomes available.  Docks and Harbors also has a $2 million Tier One Municipal Harbor Grant on its books. Uchytil said the city could return the grant to the state and apply for a larger grant up to $5 million. This could introduce some risk and would require matching funds.

The project began in 2007, but soon came to a standstill due to the need for an environmental permit, Uchytil said. The U.S. Corps of Engineers expects to have the Environmental Assessment completed in the next couple weeks for dredging 45,000 cubic yards of material from the entrance to the harbor and depositing it in Gastineau Channel. The spoils contain methyl mercury and will need to be capped with six inches of clean material. Dredging is expected to cost around $2 million, and the cap to cost up to $600,000.

The cap material could come from the freight shippers Northland Services or from the Juneau International Airport. Cap material from the airport is expected to cost more than that from Northland Service.

Northland must deposit the material somewhere, Uchytil said. The cost would be from moving it to the Douglas Harbor site.

“It is a good thing for [Northland] as well,” Uchytil said. The sticking point is how to do it contractually, he said.

The remodel project would include 54 vessel stalls and 32 skiff stalls, along with 700 feet of transient moorage. The project is now in the 95 percent design stage.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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