The Haines Borough is scaling back its design plans for the Port Chilkoot dock renovation so it can remain within the $6 million project budget, borough officials reported during a recent meeting intended to update the public and Ports and Harbors Advisory Committee.
The borough shaved nearly $260,000 off the renovation by removing two items from the base bid: a mooring dolphin - a structure used to tie up cruise ships - and dock lighting. Borough manager Mark Earnest said the revised design plans have been sent to cruise ship companies to determine whether the absence of the additional mooring dolphin would discourage or disable cruise ships from tying up in Haines.
“If this a necessity for the cruise ships, we’ll figure out a way to do it. We have some funds we can put into this project,” Earnest said.
The dock currently features two mooring dolphins, but one will be necessarily destroyed during the demolition process.
Earnest emphasized these numbers are only estimates at this point; costs are liable to change when official bids come in. The mooring dolphin, dock lighting, and various other amenities, then, could be added back into the project if companies bid at lower costs, or if the borough secures additional legislative or grant funding.
Thus far the project has experienced considerable cost-cutting and downsizing measures, public facilities director Carlos Jimenez said. The dock’s queuing area, for instance, was going to be lengthened by about 40 feet to accommodate additional visitors.
“That has all been whittled down because we simply don’t have the funds for it,” Jimenez said.
Earnest said he thinks the current design will provide a sufficient queuing area, and that he has asked PND Engineers, the firm responsible for this phase of the project, to design the dock in such a way to allow for potential future expansion.
“When we started looking at exactly what the design consists of, we really believe that this current design can accommodate those passengers. But what we’ve done is ask PND to alter the design and the spacing of the trestles so that in the future, additional queuing area, or just the decking, can be added,” Earnest said.
In another effort to save money, the borough will instruct the contractor to salvage as much of the material from the demolished dock as possible. Earnest said the borough could save by “being creative on the disposal of the existing wood trestle and dock,” although how much money this would save or what the salvaged material would go toward is still unclear. Meeting attendee Andy Hedden expressed skepticism about the cost-effectiveness of the scheme.
“PND never set a price on what the savings would be, but when we brought it to their attention, they thought it would be a no-brainer and would be a pretty good savings in cost,” Jimenez said.
Earnest said the borough also saved $40,000 by combining the Port Chilkoot dock renovation and Letnikof Cove harbor refurbishments projects. The gangway at the Port Chilkoot dock, which will be replaced by a longer gangway, will be moved and installed at the Letnikof dock. The total budget for the Letnikof project is about $950,000.
“We’ve squeezed this thing down; we’ve whittled it. But we didn’t sacrifice,” Earnest said.
Both designs are currently 65 percent complete, and will be 95 percent complete by January 25. Although funding sources for the projects differ, they will bid on the same contract in early March. Construction on the Port Chilkoot dock is scheduled to begin in mid-August. Letnikof work won’t start before Oct. 1.