Steamship Wharf work nears completion

Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2003

The Steamship Wharf-Marine Park construction project should be complete by July 3, and 58 new boat slips will be installed in the Douglas Harbor by next summer, city officials said.

As the city works with a planning firm to develop a vision of waterfront projects for the next 20 years, some public and private projects permitted by the city are continuing as planned.

The first and second phases of the four-phase Douglas Harbor project are finished, said John Stone, port director for the city.

Phase one included the dredging of the harbor and the installation of a launch ramp, completed by BOSS Construction of Seattle in April 2002. Phase two was the rebuilding of Savikko Road, completed by Secon Inc.

The sand used in the retaining wall for Savikko road is from the area of Steamship Wharf, Stone said. When dredging of the area began for the Steamship Wharf-Marine Park project, the silt was found to be too high in hydrocarbons to be dumped into the channel. So it was packed into a waterproof lining and used in the retaining wall for Savikko Road.

"There's a big burrito in there full of dredge silts from Steamship Wharf," Stone said.

As the first two phases of the Douglas Harbor project were completed, the U.S. Corps of Engineers began working on a breakwater for the harbor, Stone said. The Corps of Engineers provided 80 percent of the funding for the $3.5 million breakwater project, and Juneau has committed to funding the remaining 20 percent.

Construction of the breakwater should begin this fall and be completed by the fall of 2004, Stone said.

Last fall, Juneau voters approved $3.5 million to fund phase three of the Douglas Harbor project: the installation of 58 new slips for larger boats in the harbor, adding to the 125 already there. The new floats should be installed by next summer, he said.

The street improvements and landscaping projects for the land surrounding the harbor - a $3.5 million project - have been approved, but await funding, said Stone.

The $5 million Steamship Wharf-Marine Park project, the only other city-funded project in Juneau's harbors, is set to be completed by July 3, said Stone.

"We created a deck in the area that was open, and a large new place for passenger transfer," he said.

Though passengers and buses will cause some congestion downtown before July 3, Stone said, once the construction is completed, downtown will be able to accommodate twice as many buses as it did last year.

A grand opening celebration of the park will include live music and food, and will coincide with the fireworks display that night.

Several private dock projects are underway in downtown Juneau as well.

Construction of the Jacobsen Dock, which will accommodate ships up to 1,000 feet long, will begin this fall, if permitting goes as planned, said Chris Gianotti, a senior engineer with Peratrovich Nottingham and Drage, the firm handling the planning for the dock.

"A Corps of Engineers permit has been issued, the state of Alaska has found the project to be consistent with the Alaska Coastal Zone Management Program, and the CBJ has granted the conditional use permit," Gianotti said.

Design for the dock, at the Thane Road rock dump, will begin this summer. If the firm secures a tidelands lease from the state, construction should begin this fall and will be completed by the 2004 cruise ship season, Gianotti said.

The privately owned dock is a joint project between the Jacobsen Trust, which owns the land, and Southeast Stevedoring. It will be leased to cruise lines through Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska, a branch of Southeast Stevedoring.

Other private projects include plans by developer Howard Lockwood to lease the city-owned area between the rock dump and the little rock dump. He would dredge the area to minus 15 feet and install docks and floats. He also plans some construction upland, said Dale Pernula, community development director for the city.

Pernula had no further details of the project and Lockwood couldn't be reached for comment.

In a separate project, Franklin Dock Enterprises plans to build a 400-foot floating dock adjacent to the south end of the Princess Dock this fall or in the spring of 2004.

The dock would serve small cruise ships, catamarans and yachts, said Reed Stoops, a partner with Franklin Dock Enterprises.

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