Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Nome Deep Water Port Study Takes a Step Forward

A proposed deep water port at Nome, Alaska, to support offshore oil and gas development, search and rescue and oil spill response, is still years away from construction, but for now, the federal government has a tentatively selected plan.

The next step, says Bruce Sexauer, chief of the civil works branch for the US Army Corps of Engineers in Anchorage, is to get as much comment on the tentatively selected plan as possible, during a public comment period that ends March 23.

The Corps is working with the National Marine Fisheries Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and state officials on matters that include water quality issues.

In discussions with the Coast Guard, the US Navy and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Everyone is in favor of an Arctic port, but we don’t have a sense of yes or no for this particular plan,” Sexauer said on Feb. 24.

“It is most important to get the word out about this project and get input in, to see how folks feel about this and if we need to make adjustments.”

The plan under consideration would include demolition of the existing spur breakwater at the end of the causeway at the port of Nome, construction of a 2,150-foot causeway extension and 450-foot dock, and dredging of the newly created protected area and associated entrance channel to 28 feet, the Corps said. Costs for the project are currently estimated at $150 million.

Another $61 million in costs are estimated for construction of local service facilities. These would include docks, mooring dolphins, utilities and security gates.

Joy Baker, project manager for the Port of Nome, applauded the Corps’ progress to date, in its cooperative venture with the state of Alaska. “They have both done a very good job on getting it to this point,” Baker said. “We provided statistics on vessel traffic and commodities movement and they have done the economic feasibility, environmental and some early pre-engineers ideas on the project.”

The city will assist by getting cost proposals for other value engineering designs so everything is considered, to get the best price for work to be done, she said.

The Corps has posted the Alaska Deep-Draft Arctic Port System study online at Comment on the draft report by email to

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