November 22, 2012 | Volume 42, No. 47

Lutak Dock on CIP 'wish list'

Sitting atop the draft “wish list” for the Haines Borough’s capital requests to the Alaska Legislature is about $2-2.5 million in upgrades to Lutak Dock.

Dock resurfacing and drainage improvements ($500,000), capacity upgrades and repairs ($600,000), and high mast lighting ($400,000) make up the bulk of the project. Onshore and underwater surveys to determine future dock modifications, plus design and permitting expenses, comprise the remaining costs.

Harbormaster Phillip Benner said the area near the dock is getting shallower, causing some barges to have difficulty coming in during low tide. Glacial rebound is responsible for a one-inch loss in depth per year, Benner said, which adds up to about a loss of 50 inches since the dock was constructed.

Lutak/Oceanview area slump mitigation and drainage improvements are also on the list, although the amount of money the borough would ask for is not yet determined. Borough manager Mark Earnest said PND Engineers, Inc. is developing a profile survey and recommendations to prevent erosion and flooding problems. Preliminary insights into the slump issue indicate preserving trees and vegetation in the area is critical.

“It’s going to be very, very important to not clear areas in those hazard slopes. Leave the trees. Plant trees where there are no trees, and at least get some vegetation back there,” Earnest said during a planning commission meeting Nov. 8.

Commissioner Don Turner was skeptical about the tree solution and is reserving judgment until the final PND profile survey is complete. “I’ve read a lot of the PND reports and they’re pretty vague about exactly what caused the problem...I’m a little bit hesitant about telling somebody they can’t cut a tree on their property,” Turner said.

The list also includes phase four of the Third Avenue improvements, which total about $1 million. Other road improvement projects, totaling $2 million, include Tower Road, Blacksmith Road, Totem Street, Portage Street, and Fort Seward area sidewalks.

The borough is also asking for $1-$2 million for Haines School locker room improvements and pool upgrades.    

Earnest has not yet released anticipated costs for the list’s four pieces of road maintenance equipment, including a dump truck with a nose plow, Caterpillar 950 or 966, Ford dump truck, and street sweeper.

The borough’s public safety building also made it on the list, although whether that would mean constructing a new building, renovating the current building or another community building, or merely conducting a feasibility survey is unclear.

The last project on the list, also without an estimated cost, is the sewer treatment plant safety upgrades and feasibility study. Earnest said these upgrades would include improvements to the screening process, or separating workers from waste materials and fluids.

Several commissions and committees will give input on the draft before it comes before the assembly in a more detailed form on Nov. 27. Public comment is also encouraged.