October 3, 2013 | XLIII 39

Pile-driving on dock to start soon

The rebuilt Port Chilkoot Dock will sit three to five feet lower in the water than the existing structure and will be supported by one-eighth as many pilings.

Seattle-based construction firm Pacific Pile and Marine (PPM) will work 10 hours a day, seven days a week to replace most of the existing structure by next summer.

Pile-driving is expected to start next week and will continue through December. It will occur between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Sundays.

“They will be as courteous as they can. They hope to take Sundays off, but they do have a deadline to meet,” said Haines Borough public facilities director Carlos Jimenez.

PPM began demolition of portions of the dock Sept. 16. The roughly $6 million in renovations is scheduled for final completion by July 1, Jimenez said. The new structure should be usable a month before that.

At 25 feet, the dock’s new pier section will be nearly twice as wide as the existing one, effectively expanding 12 feet to the north of the existing footprint.

Construction crews are simultaneously building and demolishing, Jimenez said, working their way toward shore. “They’ll probably punch holes in the decking and lay out where their new piles are going to go and use the existing structure as a template so they can crane up their pilings and know right where they’re going to go,” he said.

As of Tuesday, 30 percent of roughly 400 timber pilings had been removed. About 50 galvanized steel pilings – most of them 24 inches in diameter – will replace them, Jimenez said. Timber pilings were 12 or 16 inches in diameter, he said.

Glue-lam stringers eight inches wide and 36 inches in girth will help support the structure and allow use of fewer pilings, he said. Decking will go on the stringers, which will bolt to steel pile caps.

Construction will include lowering a portion of the existing approach dock to match new portions, building a new trestle, adding a longer gangway and creating a larger gangway queuing area. The new gangway and queuing area will be ADA-compliant and have an ambulance turnaround area.

The new gangway also will be about two feet wider and less steep than the previous one, so the “people mover” cart can ferry visitors to and from the lightering float.

The 18-year-old gangway is being removed and installed as part of renovation of the Letnikof Dock. Other Letnikof work will include replacing the gangway float to accommodate the longer and heavier ramp, and replacing anchors, chains and decking.

The wide apron area at the end of the historic Port Chilkoot dock, which at one point housed a warehouse, will be demolished.

Though it is listed as phase three of the project, the borough postponed plans for a new 5,360-square-foot queuing and viewing area due to a lack of funding. “We just couldn’t afford it,” Jimenez said.

The visitor information booth will be relocated to the end of the approach dock, instead of at the staging area near the parking lot.

Manager Mark Earnest said engineering firm PND Engineers estimated disposal of the removed wood from the dock would cost $200,000 to $250,000, so the borough is getting creative with ways it can be reused in the community.

Some of it already has been delivered to the school for use in wood shop projects, and more will likely be retained for development of local trails, Earnest said.

Earnest said private community members also have shown a “tremendous amount of interest” in the wood, so he is leaning toward putting out a request for proposals.

“Either somebody would offer to pay the borough for the materials or propose to charge the borough for properly disposing of those materials,” he said.

Borough officials are holding weekly progress meetings with the construction company to monitor progress. Eight workers, including three locals, are employed on the project.