November 29, 2012 | Volume 42, No.48

Bond passage clears way for breakwater, dredging

A ports and harbors construction bond approved by voters in the statewide election Nov. 6 will fund breakwater construction and dredging work to expand the Small Boat Harbor, harbormaster Phil Benner said this week.

The bond package included $15 million for the Haines harbor.

“We’ve got to build the breakwater and do the dredging first. After the breakwater and dredging, there should be enough left over to build some floats and do some of the things in the harbor master plan,” Benner said in an interview.

Combined with $4 million appropriated by the Alaska Legislature last year, there’s $19 million for improvements. The legislative appropriation paid for recent core sampling of the sea floor near the harbor entrance, the results of which will determine the direction of the breakwater project.

By early February the borough should know the results of the sampling. A hard floor would lead to a “nose” extension onto the existing rubble-mound breakwater. Soft soils may force an alternative design, such as a metal “sea wall.”

“Once we get the samples back, we’ll start going through the process for what’s best out there and see what the engineers say,” Benner said.

Under either scenario, a new jetty will be extended from land on the harbor’s west side to protect an enlarged basin from winds and to protect a planned sportboat ramp that will go just inside the new entrance.

The boat launch, to be built by the state, is envisioned to have two vehicle ramps and a boarding float in the middle. The jetty also will leave room for a drive-down float that would allow cars to pull up alongside vessels.

Harbor work, along with projects to replace the Port Chilkoot Dock trestle and make improvements to Letnikof Dock, will make next year a busy one at the waterfront, Benner said. “Hopefully, we’ll get a lot done.”

Letnikof work includes replacing the float anchor system, extending the U-shaped float, relocating and attaching the gangway from the Port Chilkoot Dock, and replacing four piles adjoining the float.

Screw ends will be added to the piles to secure them in bedrock there, Benner said.