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New commercial dock nears final approval from city

Posted: Sunday, February 03, 2008

After eight years of work, the Juneau Docks and Harbors Board voted Thursday to award a $7 million contract to Trucano Construction to build a new Auke Bay loading dock complex for commercial fishing and transportation.

The board's action still requires final approval by the Juneau Assembly. Board member Greg Fisk said he expects the contract approval to come during the Feb. 11 Assembly meeting.

Port Director John Stone said everyone involved was happy to get started.

"It takes years to develop on the water," he said.

Trucano underbid Swalling Construction by $1.8 million and bested the city engineer's estimate by $255,000.

The new dock and ramp system will cover 10 acres near the state ferry terminal. Stone called it the best loading site in the state. Two buildings, a landing craft ramp and 200-foot-long floating dock are expected to improve operations for the local fishing fleet and regional freight carriers.

"The drive-down float is super heavy-duty," Stone said. "This will take more than a pickup."

A 4,800-square-foot ramp will allow fishermen to deliver 10 tons of equipment at a time to and from the floating dock, where two cranes can assist loading and unloading.

In 2000 the local fishing industry told the city it needed a loading facility north of Mendenhall Bar, in Auke Bay, Stone said. Smaller-scale fishermen, who operate direct-sales businesses, will find better access to the airport, Fisk said.

Nearly 30 acres of adjacent tideland will hold an eel grass conservation area to reduce effects of the dock's placement and operation in the inner area of Auke Nu cove.

The project is paid for by $7.6 million in bonds and a $1 million Denali Commission grant. Stone said the state gave a $51,000 grant to help pay for the cranes.

The city expects the project to be complete by June 2009.

Fisk said the project's inclusion of a ramp for freight-carrying landing craft is also a boon for outlying areas that get supplies through Juneau.

Stone expects the city to capitalize on the increased loading access. Truckloads of goods from Costco and Home Depot can be driven right to the boats, he said.

A side benefit will come for recreational boat ramp users in nearby Don Statter Boat Harbor, where landing craft currently share the ramp, Fisk said.

"It will be a busy facility," Fisk said. "It's quite an addition for our harbors infrastructure."

• Contact reporter Greg Skinner at 523-2258 or by e-mail at greg.skinner@juneauempire.com.



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