Army Corps drafts call for bids on port expansion

During its regular meeting last Thursday, Nome’s Port Commission heard that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is finalizing its call for bids from contractors to work on the first phase of the port’s expansion.
The Corps released a draft solicitation package on Sam.gov on Nov. 3.
The package—which contained well over 1,000 pages worth of documents—was posted so that interested contractors could point out any major concerns over a two-week period.
Joy Baker, the port’s project manager, was absent from the meeting as she was on vacation, but she wrote in her report to the commission that the Corps’ design team was finalizing its drawings and specs to ensure that the package is ready once the final solicitation date is determined. Under the project’s current timeline, the contract is expected to be awarded in the spring with the work to begin in the summer.
The first phase of the project involves extending the causeway further out to sea, ending in an L-shaped spur.
The port won’t close when that work begins. Commissioner Gay Sheffield asked how the port would manage operations amid the construction.
“A lot of coordination and morning meetings,” said Harbormaster Lucas Stotts. “Traffic has to continue to flow.”
Some of that traffic will come from cruise ships.
Next year promises to be another record-high year for cruise visits to Nome, Stotts told the commission. He said the port already has 10 cruise ships on the schedule for 2024, and he expects more might sign up in the coming months. Nome saw 13 visits from cruises in 2023.
Baker’s report also noted that the port recently received $11.2 million in federal funding to help cover some of the marine utilities like power and fuel lines during the first phase of the port expansion. As previously reported in the Nugget, this funding comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. Baker wrote that the City of Nome will seek state funding for an estimated $16 million in matching funds for this infrastructure.
The City of Nome had recently commissioned the Anchorage-based firm Northern Economics to complete a tariff rate study and analysis for the port. Earlier this month, Northern Economics held a kickoff meeting with the city and they are on track to have a final report in March, according to Baker’s report.
The commission took one action. The Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators recently had passed a resolution urging the governor and state legislature to increase funding for the Alaska’s Municipal Harbor Facility Grant Program in the next fiscal year. The Nome Port Commission voted to ask the Nome Common Council to support this resolution.  

 

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