News from Patrick Flynn

Port committee update, fourth edition

For those unable to attend, here’s an update from most recent Port committee meeting:


Total funds “obligated” to date are $257 million.  Obligated funds mean they’ve been designated to pay for work and contracts for that work have been let but the dollars have not necessarily changed hands, some of which occurs after work is complete, inspected, etc.

The remaining budget for 2010-2014, which would complete the North Extension, is $268 million, for a total of $525 million.  Estimates for the remaining phases, the South Extension, South Replacement and Center Replacement, are still rather rough but come in at $150 million, $150 million and $300 million, respectively.  In other words, total project costs are expected to exceed $1 billion.

(Note: for a map showing the different phases of the project click here, but be forewarned it’s a big Acrobat file.  Also, this map is occasionally updated so there are a few differences between the copy I’ve linked and the latest hard copy we received at our last meeting .  For example, the version we just received merges the Center and North Replacements into a single Center Replacement.)


Estimated completion dates, and this information is not all on the phasing map linked to above, are as follows:

  • North Extension, phase I (TOTE’s “vacation” home) – 2012
  • North Extension, phase II (Horizon’s “vacation” home) – 2014
  • South Extension – 2015
  • South Replacement – 2018
  • Center Replacement (where TOTE & Horizon are now, and to where they wish to return as soon as possible) – 2021

Last year’s work:

The inspection process to evaluate work performed last year on the North Extension is underway.  That report should be available for us to discuss at our next meeting, which will take place in either early or late September.  The report will also be a primary basis for settling up finances between MARAD/ICRC (the sponsoring agency and project management firm) and QAP (the contractor).

This year’s work:

West Construction was the successful bidder on work being performed this year and is using Manson Construction, which is also performing Port of Anchorage dredging for the US Army Corps of Engineers, as a subcontractor.

Other items:

Port officials estimate their fixed annual project costs at $6 – 7 million for ICRC’s services, $5 million for monitoring of beluga whales and $5 – 10 million in construction delays due to proximity of beluga whales.  In other worst, aside from increased labor and materials costs, each year of project delays increases total project costs by at least $16 million.

MARAD, ICRC, Corps and Port officials met a couple weeks ago to discuss a variety of project matters, including TOTE’s concern about safely navigating their vessels to their “vacation” home at the North Extension.  One idea under consideration is to increase the size of the North Extension somewhat by extending it a little further south (essentially building a portion of the Center Replacement ahead of schedule), rather than increasing the amount of dredging that TOTE considers essential as things are planned now.  Once the various agencies have a clearer idea of the cost-effectiveness with this approach they’ll convene with TOTE’s maritime personnel to see if the concept could work.  If so, one advantage is increased spacing between TOTE and Horizon vessels, which would provide an added safety margin.

Lynne Woods, a Mat-Su Borough Assembly member from Sutton, joined the meeting by phone, as did at least one MARAD official.  Marc Van Dongen, Port MacKenzie director, joined us in person.

Committee members had questions about the seismic stability of the open-cell sheet pile technology employed for this project, wanted more information about future financing and were very interested in the results of the on-going inspection of last year’s work.  Those three items, as well as an update of how TOTE’s navigability concerns will be addressed, will form the bulk of our agenda when we meet in September.  Once that date is set I’ll let you know!



This contribution was made on Friday, 20. August 2010 at 02:05 and was published under the category Port committee, Transportation. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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  1. Pat,

    Thanks for the factual update. Did you say a BILLION dollars, wow! I am trying to wrap my head around that? That is a BILLION right? My buddy Randy up there in Anchorage said this sheet pile stuff was suppose to save the port money, doesn’t seem like a real money saver to me, but what do I know? You money guys there in Anchorage are smarter than me about that kind of stuff. If I had a $$B dollars laying around the house I’d want a $100M return annually on that kind of dough; hope someone other than the engineers and contractors are making money on this deal?? Keep the news coming Pat. I am sending this to an old friend in California that writes soap operas to see if it can be sold to television.


    Comment: Moose Johnson – 20. August 2010 @ 6:46 am

  2. Pat,

    One thing you could do to shut these stump head naysayers up is to show a drawing of all the new land with the lease holder’s names on the various lots. This would include the Navy, the US Coast Guard, COSTCO, the cruise ships, the pipeline people, the Chinese and Japanese etc. You could then show a chart with the projected revenue for each lot and the totals for each year. Sure it’s expensive to build but when compared to the money the city will make it is worth it.

    By the way how much does the city make now from the port?

    Keep up the good work.

    Rudy Lachinski.

    Comment: Rudy Lachinski – 20. August 2010 @ 3:39 pm

  3. Pat

    I was down at F Street and ran into a buddy who knows all about the port project. He told me there are a couple of economic flaws in it. He explained that the port is spending hundreds of millions to build a barge dock but that there are already barge docks down there! I guess there are a couple of private outfits right next door to the port that already have these. The problem is that they are spending TONS of public money to compete with these little private docks. Those guys built their business up from scratch with no help from the government and then, well, it’s like a big bully moving in on them.

    I support this project but not that part. No sir. That crosses the line in my book.

    Not only that but I guess the port of Anchorage is competing with the Mat-Su port. Both of these ports are expanding like mad. I guess they are all buddy buddy in public but behind the scenes is a different story. The problem with this is that they have one public project competing with another public project for the same market. I guess they are only a couple of miles away from each other.
    Well that makes no sense to me. It is like we the public are going to build two ports when we only need one.

    Well anyway I still support this project. I sure am waiting to hear about they are going to fix the new dock and how much the warrantee will cover. I would also like to hear about the economics 101 that shows how this all comes together and makes money.

    Keep up the good work.

    Rudy Lachinski.

    Comment: Rudy Lachinski – 22. August 2010 @ 9:24 pm

  4. “The inspection process to evaluate work performed last year on the North Extension is underway.”

    Last October (2009) there was an inspection by divers; their report is available at

    They found some interesting things:

    “Sheets were curled in toward the shore. The interlock had separated. At mud line there was approximately a 3 foot horizontal (shoreward) displacement between the sheets. The diver reported reaching through the triangular shaped opening and touching the tail wall on the inside of the cell. The interlock appeared to be intact above mud line but may be damaged below the mud.”

    Does the current inspection include inspection divers?

    Comment: Anchorage PortWatch – 23. August 2010 @ 11:51 am

  5. Regarding this year’s work by West Construction:

    How much was their (winning) bid? We’ve heard about $30 million.

    How is that work going? We’ve heard they’re going to have to buy a whole lot more sheet pile than they anticipated (because the ones they expect to be able to re-use are coming out in pieces). How much is that going to add to the $30 million?

    What’s their schedule for completion look like? We’ve heard they proposed to be done this year but now don’t expect to be done until late next year (end of 2011).

    Comment: Anchorage PortWatch – 23. August 2010 @ 11:55 am

  6. I’m not sure I believe that stuff about an inspection last October. That would mean they have been inspecting it for almost a year. I wasn’t born yesterday. No sir. It doesn’t take a full year for an inspection. Seems to me they could do it in a couple of days or a week at the most. Anyway I’m sure Pat will get to the bottom of this at the next meeting.

    Comment: Rudy Lachinski – 24. August 2010 @ 7:47 am

  7. Pat,

    I dug around on the internet and found some good stuff. I guess Sheffield was hired in 2001. He turned around and hired these sheet pile guys right away. The original project was around $170 to $200 million and was supposed to be done in 2008. (My buddy from F Street says the original IMF project was $30 million but I can’t find that anywhere.) Anyway the cost has been going up and up ever since. Of course 2008 has come and gone too.

    My buddy from F Street says the costs have been going up a million a week but he’s all wrong. See if you take 9 years and multiply that times 52 weeks per year you get 468 weeks. Then if you take the current cost of $1 billion and subtract the original $200 million you get $800 million. $800 million divided by 468 weeks is $1.7 million per week. It’s easy you can work it out on the back of a napkin! At this rate if it takes another 10 years to finish this (like you said) the whole thing will be around $2 billion.

    Anyway I don’t think that’s bad at all. Heck it’s not coming out of our pockets. In fact that’s just good ole federal money going right into our local economy! If it were up to me I’d put a printing press right in the lobby at 2000 Anchorage Port Road. Then they could crank out funny money and IOUs night and day. They could make this a stop on the tour of the port so us locals could see the new port and where the funds are coming from.

    Well I just thought you might like to know a few more facts.

    Keep up the good work.

    Rudy Lachinski.

    Comment: Rudy Lachinski – 24. August 2010 @ 7:11 pm

  8. Rudy………….these are”Obama Bucks”, so keep your skivvies on. Amerika is always complaining about how much federal money is spent up here per person. Well, this is our way of helping Amerika out of the recession those NYC boys caused. This project has the potential of lifting us out of the recession, big time. When other cities see the logic in this everyone will be building these big expensive ports; they may even build one in Denver! Keeping the presses rolling……………….Moose

    Comment: Moose Johnson – 27. August 2010 @ 10:39 am

  9. Rudy…………..let me know the next time you’re headed down to F Street Station. You guys must smoke those funny cigarettes there? I just hope that stop all this before they get to $$$BILLION$$$. Anchorage will have 60 Minutes crawling around town again. Moose, I am headed down to the Kenai this weekend, I’ll swing by for brew……………………Randy

    Comment: Randy Mann – 27. August 2010 @ 10:44 am

  10. Pat,

    Well I was down at F Street Saturday night and boy did I get an ear full! My buddy went on and on about a big cover up for construction problems on the new dock. He said the Port won’t release any information and is trying to sweep the whole mess under the rug. Well I thought it was all common knowledge with the problems and all. So what? Stuff happens.

    Anyway maybe you can get this all out in the open so we can fix it under warrantee and move on. Keeping secretes from the public is the absolute worst thing you could do. I have been around construction a time or two and I can tell you there should be tons of records about this. For the kinds of money this thing is costing they would have inspectors and surveyors crawling all over it. All you have to do is request the construction reports and surveys from the Port and then make it public. It should only take a day or two for them to make the copies and deliver it.

    By the way, don’t listen to these backwoods guys from north Kenai. We need to get this project back on track. Its simple, all you have to do is show them a map of the Port with all the new lots and all the new users names on it. Then let everyone know how much the City will get for each square foot. It’s economics 101.

    Keep up the good work and let’s move forward with this rock solid money maker!

    Rudy Lachinski

    Comment: Rudy Lachinski – 29. August 2010 @ 6:11 pm

  11. Lachinski…………… money boys have all the answers. Good luck getting at the construction records; they already burned them. Those college boys aren’t going leave a paper trail; are they? But on the other hand, since they fell for this plan to begin with maybe they didn’t burn the stuff! You ought to stay away from F Street Station, maybe try Blues Central…………….Moose

    Comment: Moose Johnson – 30. August 2010 @ 3:46 pm

  12. Moose……………lighten up big guy. I think Lachinski is on to something. Seems to me a job this big there has got to be some inspection records. I bet we could get those through freedom of information or something like that; I don’t think they’d be stupid enough to burn them, do you? I like your recommendation about Blues Central, you’re right on the mark there!


    Comment: Randy Mann – 31. August 2010 @ 12:43 pm

  13. Well Blues Central sounds like a hot bed for Liberal Democrats to me. I prefer the downtown business crowd at F Street, at least they seem to understand economics 101.

    In terms of records and such, my buddy told me that Governor Sheffield use to have a paper shredder right on his desk. I guess he got into big trouble with it and almost got booted out of the Governor’s mansion. That was years ago. I sure hope he learned his lesson back then. We sure don’t need a bunch of secrets on this project. No sir. That is the worst thing we could have. It’s all public money on this one. We need the issues to be transparent not invisible.

    I’m sure Pat and his buddies on the Assembly will get to the bottom of this and report on what is really going on down there. The Port is way too important for it to get all messed up in a big controversy. The sooner they come clean the better. Then we can get on with building this rock solid money maker!

    Rudy Lachinski

    Comment: Rudy Lachinski – 31. August 2010 @ 2:25 pm

  14. Hey Rudy……………is there a website where I can sign up for one of these new port leases? I don’t want to be at the back of the line when they come out. I figure I can sublet my port lease and with the money I make from that retire in Mexico — assuming I don’t get too close to some of those drug cartel guys down there. I can sit on the patio sipping Singapore Slings all winter and Alaska Ambers at my place in North Kenai all summer. By the way Rudy, Blues Central rocks.


    Comment: Moose Johnson – 31. August 2010 @ 2:40 pm

  15. Pat,

    Wonder how this Port stuff figures into Mayor Sullivan’s $18M short-fall………maybe a 15-20% tax increase.??


    Comment: Randy Mann – 02. September 2010 @ 7:47 am

  16. […] on Thursday, October 14, at 9 am in City Hall, room 155.  For a preview of the agenda see my last post on this […]

    Pingback: Patrick Flynn's Blog » Odds & ends, more again | An Assembly member's take on Anchorage issues – 19. September 2010 @ 4:17 pm

  17. Hi there Pat:

    Just wondering…..

    What was the original, original total number for the POA project?


    Comment: Kate Tesar – 07. October 2010 @ 6:13 am

  18. Hey KT, I think the original budget was under $200M.

    Comment: shirley mccraken – 02. November 2010 @ 11:51 am

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