The Unalaska Marine Center Dock Position III and IV project, designed by PND Engineers, Inc. for the City of Unalaska, was approved for construction by Turnagain Marine Construction following a unanimous vote by the Unalaska City Council. On-site work began in mid-May, with PND performing construction administration and on-site inspection through project completion in 2018. New dock construction began in mid-July. The work is being closely coordinated with ongoing container cargo, freight barge, and fishing vessel operations at the adjacent dock facilities on both sides of the project.
PND Senior Vice President Dempsey Thieman credits a tireless PND staff for bringing the City’s vision for the UMC expansion one step closer to reality. “Good job to everyone who has been and continues to be involved in the project,” Thieman said. “The long hours and high quality work are recognized and appreciated.”
The $38 million project will provide 610 feet of new dock face with a minimum water depth of approximately 45 feet. It replaces two aging pile-supported structures with a high capacity OPEN CELL SHEET PILE™ bulkhead dock. A portion of the new dock structure will be aligned with the existing U.S. Coast Guard dock, creating a total face length of approximately 730 feet on the north end of the facility. A portion of the project will also be aligned with the existing UMC Positions V through VII, providing 950 feet of dock face length needed for modern container ships that call on the Port of Dutch Harbor. The project will also extend the existing container crane rails and provide an electrical service vault for a new electric container crane.
Necessary appurtenances to meet the current and future needs of the port facility include a heavy duty fender system, dock and backreach concrete block surfacing, removable bullrails, heavy duty mooring bollards, corrosion protection, at-grade heavy duty traffic-rated subsurface vaults for bulk fuel offload, fuel sales, potable water connections and sanitary sewer connections, dock high-mast lighting, and dock security camera system. Surface drainage controls will include a heavy duty trench drain and stormwater treatment system throughout the site. Improvements to portions of the existing storm drain system will include expansion and tie-in to the new stormwater treatment systems and outfalls. To address the future needs of the port, PND designed the facility to accommodate state-of-the-art quayside cranes, adding rail, vaults, anchor pits, conduits, crane tie-downs, pin pockets, crane stops, and a cable protection system for the future installation of electrical and fiber-optic components necessary to operate the crane. Additional future needs include the capacity to install multiple groups of refrigerated container plug-ins in the backreach area while minimizing the need for excavation and demolition, which would be costly and impactful to the port.
The sheet pile bulkhead design adds nearly two acres of new, highly valuable uplands in the dock backreach area for container storage and handling, as well as other critical port activities. In addition, PND designed the quarry material backfill source, adjacent to the project, which will provide additional high-value uplands for port operations.
According to Thieman, the City of Unalaska has been very pleased with all aspects of PND’s work on the project. PND began conceptual planning of the project in 2011, with steady progress since, including geotechnical investigation; upland survey; bathymetry; Section 404 permitting; marine mammal observations and Incidental Harassment Authorization permitting; public involvement; detailed design, contract, and bid document development; construction management; fabrication inspection; and on-site construction inspection.
“We consistently met our deliverables, made numerous project presentations to the community, held multiple meetings with current and potential facility users, and incorporated desired scope changes with minimal cost impacts. The project bid price is near but lower than our engineers' cost estimate, and we worked through new and ever-changing permitting challenges,” Thieman said.
In addition, with the use of concrete block pavers for surfacing, PND has implemented a lower-cost technology that is new to Alaska marine industries, saving the client a considerable amount of money as compared to the concrete or asphalt surfacing that is typically used.
“The project package PND has delivered and the high-quality service PND has provided to the City for this flagship project will help to ensure our continued strong position as a leader in the Alaska engineering community,” Thieman said. “Keep up the good work.”
PND teamed with Morris Engineering Group to complete the electrical design on this project.