An aerial view of Lutak Dock. (R&M Consulting)

An aerial view of Lutak Dock. (R&M Consulting)

The consulting firm hired by the Haines borough to look at options for the future of Lutak Dock presented three alternatives last week. And they come at a high cost. The three options range from around $24 million to $61 million. KHNS’s Abbey Collins reports.

“I think this dock’s going to fail, basically. Either you’re going to replace it or it’s actually going to fail,” said R&M project manager John Daley.

R&M is the Anchorage-based consulting firm hired for the design phase of the Lutak Dock project.

“I don’t think it’s going to fail, unless you have a major earthquake or something I don’t think it’s going to fail all at once in a big catastrophe that’s going to kill someone or something,” said Daley. “We’re you’re going to come out and there’s going to be smoke or a giant crater or something but it will probably at some point start to split some cells, lose some fill and eventually deteriorate that way.”

The dock was constructed in 1953. For over ten years, it has been receiving smaller repairs to keep it going. It’s an key structure, as important cargo comes in through that port.

“The purpose and need for the dock, for the project, basically is the dock,” said Daley. “And all of the freight and fuel for Haines comes over that dock. That’s a pretty big deal, it’s part of your lifeline, all of your supplies come over.”

Daley presented three options and their price tags at the second public meeting on the project. The first would involve encapsulating the dock with new sheet pile walls. That would cost between nearly $32 million and $37 million.

The second alternative is a platform, pile-supported dock. If that were chosen, the existing dock would be replaced with entirely new facilities. This option has the highest price tag, at $61 million.

The third option Daley presented would use a transfer bridge and berthing dolphins. That’s a structure that’s not connected to the shore. This last option would also mean new facilities, but nearly 2 acres of uplands would be lost. It would also limit certain dock functions. That would be the least costly route, at around $24 million.

Daley also presented some analysis of what the dock would need to hypothetically provide mine support.

Public Facilities Director Brad Ryan says he wasn’t surprised by the price tags. The borough has already applied for one grant that, if awarded, would cover $8.4 million in costs. And he says they’re looking into additional grants.

Ryan says there could potentially be mixing and matching of different alternatives, depending on the focus of the community.

This was the second stage of public involvement in the project. Daley said from here, the next steps are up to the community. Public input has been a key part of the project.

“The community needs to weigh in with public involvement,” said Daley. “The planning commission, the port and harbor commission and the city staff are all going to work together to try to decide what you guys want to do, which direction.”

The planning commission will then make a recommendation to the assembly. R&M is scheduled to be back in Haines for a final public meeting on January 12. A final report is planned for the end of January. All of the design documents completed up to this point are available on the project’s website That’s also where members of the public can leave comments.