Design of new boat harbor approved by council
Rough sketch of the project will be brought up to 35 percent after vote
A new boat harbor in Valdez came one step closer to reality after the Valdez City Council voted in favor of moving forward by approving a plan to design the project.
The first phase of development plans for the new harbor was approved a week ago Monday. It is for the design of the first 35 percent. This is typical of large-scale municipal construction projects.
The project’s current plans call for 132 boats slips at 100 feet each, with boat launches, public restrooms and other support facilities including a parking lot. The site is on the spit, next to the current Crowley Dock and across the road from the backside of the existing small boat harbor.
City manager John Hozey told council the schematic presented in the supporting documentation showed a rough sketch of the two phases of the project, but the portion approved was for the first phase, which will be built under a partnership with the Army Corp of Engineers.
Earlier this year, Valdez received roughly $21 million in Federal funding to support the project, which took over ten years to secure.
The first phase of the project, including the dredging, removing Hotel Hill in its entirety and other significant earth-moving phases on land and sea is expected to cost about $25 million; the second phase, which is the actual building of the infrastructure, is estimated to cost $35 million, $60 million total.
Valdez voters will be asked in the October 7 municipal elections to approve Proposition 1, which would give the city permission to issue bonds for the project for up to $20 million to cover construction costs which have not already been secured through other grants or allocated from past city budgets.
Hozey’s agenda statement to council said that it has been a challenge to keep the Federal portion of the budget under control.
“As you will recall, the federal portion was estimated at approximately $25 million and the non-federal portion at $35 million,” Hozey said. “We are still holding to the original estimate on the non-federal part, however there remain significant unknowns at this early stage of the project and costs could still increase.”
The Ports and Harbor Commission has been working closely with city administration and its partners in the project to lay out the plans for approval.
“This is generally considered to be the last chance to incorporate significant changes,” Hozey’s agenda statement said. “Once we move beyond the 35 percent level, there is a lot of detailed schematic specific work needed to move these plans toward buildable documents – Work that could be wasted if significant changes occur.”
Last month, the council approved a contract with Arcadis Inc, for project management services, the same firm that oversaw the recent construction of the new middle school.
The cost of the contract is $340,548.
The city said it will only cover costs for managing and organizing for the pre-construction phase of the project. A second contract will be needed when actual construction of the project begins.
“This way we can bring forward more realistic contract awards,” the city said, noting there are too many unknowns about the project to be able to accurately bid out a contract for project management at the time.
“Piecing this overall project together has been very complicated,” the statement said. “There are many moving parts, multiple players, and significant unknowns. Early estimates were just that, a best guess. A project of this complexity will rarely hold to the very first estimates.”