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City Dock Renovation Faces Further Delays Due To Wintry Weather

Annie Ropeik/KUCB

Cold icy weather is delaying completion of the new city dock.

This is the third time the deadline has been pushed back. Most recently, the project was scheduled to be completed by Jan. 15.

“Of course we are feeling the pinch," Ports Director Peggy McLauglin told Unalaska's City Council Tuesday. "The dock is ready great and ready to go with the exception that we can’t guarantee the integrity of the pavers until the sanding is complete.”

''A" season begins Jan. 20 and McLaughlin says the city has already turned away barges because foot and vehicle traffic on the dock is not permitted.

What’s holding up the project? First, the pavers got weathered out.

“The two main items that are keeping the dock from being open are the pavers and then there are some plates that needed to go in over the pin-pockets and tie-down pockets for the crane," McLaughlin said. "Those have been installed but they’re going to have to be modified; they won’t meet OSHA standards.”

If the city is unable to come up with a solution for the sanding and the plates in the next couple of days, McLaughlin says operations will be impacted.

At the request of Turnagain Marine Construction – the contractor responsible for the project – they cleared snow and ice from the area. McLaughlin says there’s also been discussion of using heat blankets.

“Under the proper conditions, the amount of work is probably a couple of days," McLaughlin said. "But it means we need the right conditions, so we can clear the dock of ice and snow and so we can inspect the work as well as complete it."

It’s possible McLaughlin says that the dock could reach substantial completion – when the bulk of the work must be done – by Jan. 15, the old final deadline. But she doesn’t want to make any promises because she can’t predict the weather.

Even with the delay, McLaughlin says the $39 million project is still within budget. Although there will be some smaller items – like sealers for the concrete – that will not be finished until the spring.

When completed, the Unalaska Marine Center will have 1,600 linear feet of dock space, 800 feet of crane rail, and 168 hours a week available for scheduling.

Zoë Sobel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2019. She returned to KUCB after a year living in Nepal and Malaysia as a Luce Scholar. She then returned to KUCB as a ProPublica reporter August of 2020 through August of 2021.
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