Friday, September 5, 2014

Three Anchorage Port Expansion Finalists Chosen

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Anchorage says that after a weeklong series of meetings, it has narrowed down its list of designs to complete a long-planned expansion of the port to three. However, the designs will not be publicly released until one is recommended for approval in November, according to the office of Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan.

The port of Anchorage began a week-long collaborative Concept Planning Charrette in mid-August to identify and refine concept designs for the port modernization project, which has been in the works for more than a decade. The project was overseen by the US Maritime Administration until the US Army Corps of Engineers took control in May 2012.

The expansion was originally estimated to cost $360 million and was supposed to be finished by 2011. Instead, cost estimates have jumped to about $1 billion and climbing and completion isn’t expected for another decade.

The five-day Concept Planning Charrette was a workshop that involved key stakeholders directly in identifying operational constraints, known risks and user priorities. Over 50 individuals representing port users and vessel operators, technical and subject matter experts and port and Municipality of Anchorage leadership participated in the meetings, which was conducted by a program management consultant team, led by engineering firm CH2M HILL, which serves as expansion’s current project manager.

By the conclusion of the event, the port had identified three preliminary design concepts from the viewpoint of technical experts and port users.

“This is a critical step in preparing the port for the future,” Mayor Sullivan said. “Alaska needs a modern, reliable port to ensure dependable cargo service for Southcentral Alaska and beyond for decades to come.”

The port is expected to develop the concepts to a preliminary 15 percent design level by November 2014, at which time a recommended concept design is to be presented to the city for approval.