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New Contractor for Beleaguered Port of Anchorage Renovation

Published On: Jan 02 2014 07:30:06 PM AKST

It's a troubled project that's now under new management.

A new team is in charge of renovations to the Port of Anchorage

the project has been plagued by alleged design flaws and mismanagement.

The new group is vowing to get the port expansion back on course.


A new contractor is being brought on board to take over the beleaguered renovation of the Port of Anchorage

Integrated Concepts and Research Corporation and the U.S. Maritime Association previously worked on the project. That work stalled and the contractors were taken to court over faulty designs of pilings for a new dock.

As that legal battle unfolds, engineering firm CH2M HILL has been hired to take over the management of the project.

The Colorado-based company now faces a challenging and controversial renovation.

Mayor Dan Sullivan said the company will bring managerial experience along with their engineering know-how.

“The role of the project manager will be to oversee the day-to-day operations of the construction project going forward, setting timelines and benchmarks to make sure the project is on time and meeting the expectation of the municipality," he said.

CH2M HILL’s portfolio includes a recently rebuild of a port in Mississippi damaged by Hurricane Katrina. When CH2M HILL project managers pick up where previous contractors left off, they’ll have to account for seismic activity and some of the highest tides in the world in the Cook Inlet.

CH2M HILL Vice President Stacey Jones said the company, along with partner HRD, has experience in Alaska “bringing in individuals that are local to this region, that understand the environment and conditions that we will be working in, and provide the expertise to complete this project in an economic way.”

Sullivan said he's confident CH2M HILL can complete the project without any conflict, despite the company currently being sued by the city.

That lawsuit, filed last March, revolves around faulty port construction work performed by Veco, a company CH2M HILL purchased after the work was completed.

The port renovation has run into numerous cost overruns in its decades-long history. Initial cost estimates were between $300 and $400 million dollars, and have now ballooned to nearly $1 billion.

The cost overruns can be blamed in part on faulty metal pylons installed by the previous contractor. Mayor Sullivan said the next step in the process will be to bring in a new construction team.

“The actual design itself will be a much more detailed process, with a professional firm that will design the project, and part of the consideration will be what we can afford.

The Anchorage Assembly must approve the CH2M HILL contract before any work can begin. That could happen at its next meeting on January 14th.