Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Defendants in Anchorage Port Suit Seek Dismissal

Three companies being sued by the City of Anchorage for alleging mismanaging an expansion of the Port of Anchorage are trying to have the suit dismissed.

Project construction manager Integrated Concepts and Research Corp., known as ICRC; designer PND Engineers; and engineering and construction company CH2M Hill were sued in March 2013 by the city. In mid-April, all three companies filed motions with the US District Court in Anchorage denying liability and seeking to have the lawsuit thrown out.

Anchorage’s suit came in the wake of a late 2012 report that revealed three of four new sections built at the port were not constructed correctly, and due to shifting land, could fail during an earthquake.

The $2.2 million, 2,200-page sustainability study was conducted by CH2M Hill on behalf of the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the US Army Corps of Engineers. It says the danger comes mainly from a foundation system called Open Cell Sheet Pile, or OCSP, where instead of building a traditional dock on piling, interlocking sheets of steel are hammered into the sea floor to form U-shaped cells, which are then backfilled with dirt and gravel.

Due to the problems, most construction of the project was halted in 2010.

The city seeks an unspecified amount in damages in its lawsuit, but the expansion, which has been in the works for more than a decade, was originally estimated to cost $360 million, and was supposed to be complete by 2011.

Instead, cost estimates have jumped to more than $1 billion and continue to climb. Project completion is at least a decade away, according to port estimates.