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Middle Dock Construction Unlikely for 2014

The Nome causeway. May 2014.

Construction for Nome’s Middle Dock is likely out the window for this year. Joy Baker, Port Project Manager, made the announcement Thursday at Nome’s Port Commission meeting.

“We believe that it is unlikely,” Baker said, “based on where we are now and the shipping window timeframe— that we would be able to get the project out to bid with everyone being so busy with their current 2014 season projects and get a good price and get them in here and able to build before the ice comes.”

Basically, contractors already have projects lined up for this season, and by the time materials would arrive, fall storms would be setting in just as construction would be getting underway. Ice would soon follow.

“Of course we’d love to build this summer, but our short window just precludes it,” said Baker.

But the project wouldn’t remain stagnant. Baker said the port could bid the project and then barge up materials this fall to be on hand for construction in the spring. Construction could begin immediately upon breakup if not earlier.

“So it’s just an unfortunate situation,” Baker said, “but the good news is we do have our money.”

The project received its final piece of funding—$1 million—from the Economic Development Administration last week. Included in the governor’s budget is $3 million to be signed on July 1.

Middle Dock would add around 200 feet of dock to Nome’s harbor. Currently, Nome can only dock two vessels at a time. Middle Dock would increase that number to three and possibly more.

Last year Nome had 150 vessels waiting to dock, and traffic at Nome’s harbor is only expected to increase.