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Work continues on the Drive Down dock


Mary Koppes / Petersburg Pilot

Work on the Drive Down dock continued this week as workers drive piling for an open grate approach dock. Custom-built steel components are arriving from Seattle and Harbormaster Glo Wollen said project completion is targeted for January.

The Drive Down dock project is on schedule and workers are driving piling and assembling steel components this month.

The three-phase project is well into the second phase now, which includes building a pile-supported open grate approach dock, a heavy duty vehicle transfer bridge and a drive down float at the facility located near Community Cold Storage just south of the South Harbor.

Those in town may have heard the sounds of the pile driving work in recent weeks, but work on the facility's components is also happening off-site.

"Tamico started driving piling two weeks ago through the approach dock, but a lot is going on behind the scenes," said Harbormaster Glo Wollen. "All of the steel had to be ordered and custom built...most things that are arriving on scene have been underway for quite a few months."

Seattle-based manufacturer Rainier Steel, Inc. is providing the custom-built steel pieces for the project which are then shipped to Petersburg and assembled by Tamico. "We've run into a little bit of an issue with the manufacturer that has lots of other jobs going on...The manufacturer has a couple of projects ahead of us so is a little behind," Wollen said.

Despite the delay with the steel components, the project is still running on schedule and phase two may be completed by the time boaters are ringing in the new year.

"Hopefully sometime between December and January is when we're looking at the completion," Wollen said.

The borough assembly awarded the contract for the project to Tamico, Inc. last December, out of six companies who bid on the project. The local construction company's bid was the lowest at about $7.8 million. Wollen said that contract includes the first two phases of the project.

The first phase included the conceptual design work by PND Engineers as well as demolishing the existing timber fuel trestle, the Old Union Oil Dock, and doing fill work for the staging area. Tamico began fill work back in March and also decided to delay the demolition of the Old Union Oil Dock until summer. The demo work resumed in late July.

The third and final phase of the project involves sheet piling the bulkhead which will house two hydraulic loading cranes. Wollen said that phase three is partially funded but has not yet been contracted to build.

The Harbor Advisory Board requested the construction of 120 feet of bulkhead as part of the project back in March after a lower than expected project bid left the harbor with $1.9 million in surplus state grant funds. The request was not granted at that time and the assembly unanimously approved a motion to table the discussion until September.

Wollen said that the first design for the drive down dock was drafted in 1994 though the design has changed since then. The drive down facility is being funded through a series of state legislative grants, doled out over a three-year period, totaling more than $18 million.

The estimated total project cost is around $16.5 million.


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