Juneau Assembly to vote on bid award for cruise ship docks

Site plan for Juneau's proposed $55 million floating cruise ship berths. Image courtesy City and Borough of Juneau.
Site plan for Juneau’s proposed $55 million floating cruise ship berths. Image courtesy City and Borough of Juneau.

The bids are in for Juneau’s massive cruise ship dock expansion project, and Seattle-based Manson Construction is expected to get the job.

The company’s $53.7 million bid was the lowest of two accepted by the city. Pacific Pile and Marine – also out of Seattle – bid $58.2 million. Two other companies, Kiewit and Orion Construction, were eliminated for failing to meet the minimum bid requirements.

The city estimated the cost of the project at about $55.4 million to be paid for entirely with state cruise ship passenger fees. It involves replacing the old docks downtown with new floating berths in Gastineau Channel.

Juneau’s Docks and Harbors Board recommended the bid award go to Manson at a special meeting on Thursday. The Juneau Assembly is scheduled to vote on the award at its regular meeting Monday night.

Port Director Carl Uchytil says work on the project won’t get underway until September 2015.

“The way we’ve got it arranged, they start after the last cruise ship leaves in 2015 and they have to have the south berth completed by May 1st, 2016,” Uchytil said. “Then they’ll demobilize and then they’ll come back in September 2016 and complete the north berth in May of 2017.”

Uchytil says the reason for the delay between bid award and project start is the availability of materials, namely the concrete floats used for the berths. He says all the contractors that make those floats are busy with the 520 floating bridge replacement project in the Seattle area.

Juneau’s project has been in the works for almost four years, and has cleared a number of hurdles. The nonprofit Alaska Commercial Fishermen’s Memorial continues to oppose the new docks. The group believes they will negatively affect the annual Blessing of the Fleet.

Also on the agenda for Monday’s Juneau Assembly meeting is a bid award for the Eaglecrest Learning Center. North Pacific Erectors had the low bid to build the new facility at the city-owned ski area. The company’s offer came in just below the city’s estimate of $2.7 million. Construction is being funded by the city’s one-percent project tax on the sale of goods and services in Juneau.

Project labor agreement review process on the agenda

The Juneau Assembly on Monday will vote on a resolution establishing a review process for project labor agreements.

The process was developed the Assembly Public Works and Facilities Committee and would be used to determine if such agreements are warranted on major construction projects undertaken by the city.

A project labor agreement is a pre-hire deal between a developer and contractors, setting basic terms for things like wages, benefits, and working conditions.

While project labor agreement opponents say they unfairly benefit unions, courts have upheld their use by governments, as long as the deal is shown to be in the public’s interest. The Juneau Assembly has adopted a city policy of using the agreements to the fullest extent allowed by law.

The proposed process for determining if an agreement can be used by Juneau departments would put the decision in the hands of a review team led by the City Engineer. Other members of the team would include the head of the department building the project, and someone from the City Manager’s office.

If the team can’t determine whether an agreement is warranted, it can refer the project to the Assembly public works committee.

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