It may cost the Petersburg Borough less than expected to replace its oldest harbor facility. Borough staff opened four construction bids on the North Harbor project Tuesday. Harbormaster Glorianne Wollen says the apparent low bidder was Western Dock and Bridge of Ketchikan for just under seven-point-one million dollars. The highest bid came in at about eight-and-a-half million from American Construction Company out of Tacoma, Washington. Engineers had estimated the construction could cost as much as eight million dollars including about eight-percent for contingencies. The bid covers replacement of the entire facility including a new, complete system of pilings, floats and fingers as well as a new ramp.

Petersburg’s North Harbor, KFSK File.

Wollen is happy with the results and says staff will recommend going with the lowest-bidder, “There was a wide range but the two low bidders were neck and neck there and we feel good. We had our design team go through it all and they’re recommending to the assembly the acceptance of the lower one as well.”

Wollen says Western Dock and Bridge does great work. The company replaced Petersburg’s Middle Harbor in 2005 and also did the expansion in the South Harbor more than a decade ago.

The next lowest bid came in from Petersburg’s Tamico Construction at just under seven-point-two million dollars followed by Anchorage’s Pacific Pile and Marine with a bid of over seven-point-eight million.

The staff recommendation will likely go to the assembly later this month. If the assembly approves, Wollen says the contractor can get started with the off-site work right away, “The contractor, I’m sure, will get busy with his (subcontractors) and start the process of building, actually constructing, the docks and float system which will get done off-site and then shipped in. You probably won’t notice much difference other than a lot of people are abandoning ship, so to speak, and leaving the North Harbor headed for secure stalls down in the Middle and South harbors but other than that most people won’t recognize much going on down here until August first when the project will officially begin by pulling the float system out.”

That will be followed by the US Army Corps of Engineers dredging project which has to be done before the new harbor is installed. Wollen says the borough hopes to have the new harbor in place in time for boats to start moving back by May of 2014.

Most of the project funding is from the state of Alaska. That includes the original two-and-a-half-million dollars the city received in exchange for taking over the aging facility, which had been owned by the state, in 2005. The legislature kicked in another three-and-a-half million dollars this last session. Petersburg will kick in over one-point-two-million dollars from its electric utility and smaller amounts from its property development and harbor funds.