A $10 million-plus project to rehabilitate the Robert E. Galovin Small Boat Harbor at Sand Point, in Alaska’s Aleutians East Borough is nearing completion and likely to have an official grand reopening in July, says Andy Varner, city administrator.
For Sand Point, like many coastal communities in Alaska, the harbor is the economic lifeblood of the city of about 1,000 permanent residents, located on northwestern Popof Island, near the entrance to the Bering Sea. Most residents, half of whom are of Aleut descent, support themselves by fishing and fish processing, and the population swells at certain times of the year with various fish harvests.
“We have a pretty big fleet that stays at Sand Point,” said Varner.
The old harbor, built over three decades ago, was in poor condition, with floats cracking and concrete chipping, he said. It wasn’t safe, didn’t look good and wasn’t serving the community well, he said.
A city bond approved by residents last fall provided $3 million toward the project and the Aleutians East Borough added another $2 million. Then the state of Alaska matched those funds with another $5 million to finance the project.
The contractor, Pacific Pile and Marine, has completed most of the contract, with new floats, and digital meters for electricity for the boat slips that accommodate about 170-180 vessels.
Peter Pan Seafoods buys fish and has tendering services at Sand Point, and Trident processes Pacific cod, pollock, salmon and halibut at their shore plant there.
Pacific Pile and Marine, having all but wrapped up its work at Sand Point, will also be working in Kodiak on a new structure for Pier 3, the city of Kodiak’s container pier, and starting in September, replacing the state owned Pier 1 facilities.
Pacific Pile and Marine engineer Julian Koerner said the city project, worth some $25 million, will involve putting in a new high capacity steel pile supported, concrete and steel superstructure dock. The contractor will also put up the crane rail and do all the preparatory work for the new container crane that Horizon Lines will be installing, allowing the cargo line to pile cargo higher on its vessels.
The $9 million Pier 3 replacement project, which involves replacing the dock with precast concrete and steel piling support, will begin in September, so the new pier will be operational for ferries arriving at the start of the 2015 tourist season, Koerner said.