Cruise ship docks to see borehole drilling

Posted: Friday, November 19, 2010

Geophysical and geotechnical testing for the cruise ship dock construction will take place in February, but noise considerations have been urged.

The Docks and Harbors board unanimously approved an amended contract with PND Engineers Thursday at a special meeting.

Board member Bob Wostmann had many questions regarding the contract. He asked if the fees listed had changed from what the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly approved in September. Dick Somerville, vice president of PND, said the fees are simply a breakdown of the lump sum in the already-submitted request for proposal. He said they are the same fees used in that document and the same fees they charge all clients.

Wostmann also asked who was responsible if PND did not complete borehole drilling within the 30 days specified because of breakdowns in equipment or weather. Somerville said they believe they have adequate backups in place, and that if the weather was poor enough to stop work for several days, employees would be sent home until work resumes, so additional costs would be mitigated.

Wostmann said he noticed the subtotal increased by 25 percent from what was budgeted in September. The total contract without contingency funds is $805,000.

Gary Gillette, port engineer, said that was the best estimate at the time and some things ended up costing more. Somerville added the figures were based on the last significant investigation, which was in Ketchikan a few years ago. He said that base has been carried over, but the estimates are accurate now.

Dennis Watson, who is on the planning commission but not speaking on their behalf, made the Docks and Harbors board aware of changing noise ordinances. He warned them that by the time the borehole drilling takes place - which will be drilling 24 hours a day, seven days a week -their process may be too loud for the new ordinance. He said the ordinance has not been finalized and many details are still being worked out, but there is currently no process for a waiver.

Somerville said there will be noise associated with the drilling, but he didn't believe it would be excessive. He said the drilling will take place under water and that the machines would generate more of a droning hum than loud impact noises.

"It won't be like a pile driver or anything like that," he said.

Assemblywoman Ruth Danner asked several questions about what the new ordinance could entail, and asked the Docks and Harbors board to strongly consider the impact it could have on the costs of the amended contract.

"You may not have enough money here if you can't work during dark hours," she said.

One cost could be the need to add a high-tech muffler system for the drill that would reduce or eliminate noise, Danner said, but that would also increase the cost.

Board chairman Jim Preston said that the cost in the contract is stated as "no more than" so if there are any costs above what is planned, the Board and Assembly will have to approve them.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at

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