Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Anchorage Port Modernization Plan Chosen

By Mark Edward Nero

Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan and executive members of an Anchorage port modernization project team on Nov. 21 revealed the chosen concept plan for a Port of Anchorage overhaul to the Anchorage State Assembly.

The chosen plan was one of three that had been under consideration by an evaluation committee.

The outlined concept includes replacing Terminal 2 and Terminal 3, demolishing the current port administration building and constructing a new one elsewhere. The plan also includes minimizing the investment in an extension at the port’s northern end, something that had been underway, and caused more than its share of problems, for years.

Among the new concept’s attributes, according to its proponents, are that it has the lowest upfront and lifecycle costs; minimizes future maintenance dredging; has the shortest construction period; and would cause the fewest amount of tenant moves during construction.

The final candidates for the modernization concept were identified following a week-long concept planning summit in August to identify operational constraints, known risks and user priorities.

The concept evaluation committee selected an option in early November and recommended it to Mayor Sullivan. “We appreciated the frank and open discussions held between the port staff and all the users that culminated in arriving at a concept that is acceptable to all,” Port of Anchorage Director Steve Ribuffo said. “Collectively seeing the value in this new plan is vitally important to success moving forward.”

The port modernization project, which has been in the works for more than a decade, 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. Engineering firm CH2M HILL now serves as expansion’s project manager.

A slideshow of the various renovation concepts considered, including the chosen one, identified as Concept D, can be viewed on the port’s website: http://www.portofalaska.com/images/documents/APMP_003_CH2_PM_GUI_15PercentPresentationFinal21NOV14.pdf.