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Joint committees to review Lutak Dock ramp report


February 8, 2018 | View PDF

A condition assessment for the roll-on roll-off ramp at Lutak Dock was finalized and will be up for review by several borough committees this month.

The Port and Harbor Advisory Committee was the first to review the final report last week, which outlines the condition of the existing ramp and provides suggestions and cost estimates for repairing or replacing the ramp.

These renovations would be separate from the total overhaul of Lutak Dock. The borough is researching funding options for that construction, which will cost $21 to $62 million. Harbormaster Sean Bell said the borough asked R&M Consultants to assist with a plan to maintain or renovate the roll-on and roll-off ramp until funding for the larger project becomes available.

“The basic takeaways from the condition of the ramp are that there are a few areas that have significant damage that we should be looking to address if we want to maintain just having that,” Bell said. The roll-on roll-off ramp is used to unload shipping containers from barges.

“Based on the history and various reports it is unlikely that the existing dock will remain usable for another 10 years. Localized failure can be expected at any time,” the report said.

Bell said renovations to the ramp would take the borough through the next 10 years before the entire dock needs to be addressed.

Both AML and Delta Western, companies that most often use the dock to transport freight, have contingency plans for emergency operations should the dock fail before construction begins. Bell said borough staff would meet with company representatives this week to discuss R&M’s suggestions and how each would work for its operations.

R&M Consultants provided three options for ramp construction. The first is to renovate the existing facility for $2,317,000. The second option is to remove the existing facility and create a new roll-on roll-off ramp positioned at an angle to the shore, priced at $10,933,000. The third option is to remove the existing facility and create a new ramp parallel to, and in line with, the face of the existing dock, which would cost $14,056,000.

Bell said option two is not recommended by R&M Consultants because the ramp would be positioned at an “awkward” angle.

New port and harbor committee member Diana Lapham asked if the renovations of the ramp could be incorporated into the design for the entire dock.

“Option 3 is ideal in that it would complement future build out and repairs of the rest of the dock, but at a much greater cost,” Bell said.

“The decision we make about the roll-on roll-off ramp and the decision about what we do with the Lutak Dock in general, there’s a huge interplay and I think we’re at a critical point where if we decide either to renovate or we decide to build new and we build new using design 3, it’s going to impact the ultimate design of the Lutak Dock,” said borough manager Debra Schnabel.

Committee chair Terry Pardee said the borough needs to be more aggressive in searching for funding for both projects by pressing lobbyists and legislators.

“It’s arduous, but that’s the only way we’re going to get funds. Having a grant writer down the street write a grant is not going to do it,” Pardee said.

Schnabel suggested the borough also look into private partnerships, as well as state and federal money to fund the projects.

“I think the course of action that we’re taking is a good one, we just need to keep pushing that forward,” said committee member Jim Studley.

A joint meeting between the port and harbor committee, the planning commission and the borough assembly will take place later this month. The borough is looking for feedback from the committees on how to move forward.


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