More than 100 vessels docked in downtown Aurora Harbor will have to move by mid-September to make way for a big renovation project beginning in October.
The harbor’s facelift has been in the works for more than a year, and is funded at about $11 million. The harbor, which hasn’t had a major renovation since it was built in 1962, will get brand new A, B, C and D floats, rebuilt approach docks at A and C ramps, improved electrical services to support today’s electricity demands, a better water distribution system and a new sewage pump-out system. Parts of the harbor will also be dredged to accommodate bigger vessels.
“A lot of the work is a pretty simple project: demolition of existing infrastructure, driving new piling and fabricating the new concrete float system,” city port director Carl Uchytil said. “We anticipate contractors to mobilize in October and be done in May of next year.”
Affected Aurora Harbor residents and boat owners — those with stalls on the A, B, C and D floats— have already been notified, and were asked to pick new, temporary locations for their vessels, he said. These 110 boats will need to be relocated by Sept. 15.
“We asked them to provide a response as far as where they would like to be relocated to for the winter,” Uchytil said. “We had anticipated more people wanting to remain downtown, but quite a few people want to move out to Statter Harbor for the winter.”
Because construction will happen primarily during the winter months, there is more than enough space for everyone to move to Douglas, Harris or Statter harbors or the intermediate vessel float, deputy port engineer Erich Schaal said.
“We specifically chose the construction window to build on the fact that we have plenty of space during that time,” he said.
Between the dredging and the new approach docks, a major goal of the construction project is to improve the navigability of the harbor, Schaal said.
“We’re going to rebuild the approach docks at A ramp and C ramp — those are going to facilitate boat traffic a lot better,” he said. “There will be signage for vessels to know how much room they have. There will be greater navigability on the inside of the main float, to allow greater use of the newly constructed facility.”
City and Borough of Juneau Docks and Harbors is currently finalizing the contract for the job, and then putting it out to bid, Uchytil said. Eventually, he said, the entirety of Aurora Harbor will hopefully be redone. The whole project would cost $22 million, however, and is currently only half funded.
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