After months of quiet on the long term outlook for the crumbling Lutak Dock, progress is being made. Interim borough manager Brad Ryan and harbormaster Shawn Bell gave a draft Request for Proposals to the Port and Harbor Advisory Committee recently. The borough is looking for prospective consultants to submit three conceptual designs for consideration.

The draft RFP outlines three design options sought from potential candidates for under $100,000. The first option would be to keep the dock size the same, but see a new dock face outside the current wall. The second option would demolish the whole dock and replace it with one matching the current size and capability. The third option would be left up to engineers to come up with their own recommendations.

The borough is waiting for the draft to be reviewed by the Port and Harbor group before moving forward. There is no deadline attached to the draft RFP. Ryan says at the very least, the borough is looking to address the current issues with the dock and provide the ability to expand in the future. He told the harbor committee they’re hoping to use the existing footprint.

“We should see at least three options and then we’re driving what we want after we see that. It may not be a demo and we just build outside, that’s fine if it’s the most economical and we get the most bang for our buck,” said Ryan. “It may be that we just tie it in with cables and fill it in. I don’t know, I’m not an engineer. What I hope to see is three options that have been explored at least enough to make an intelligent decision to move forward.”

The draft outlines a few priorities when it comes to the dock including securing and maintaining the integrity and functionality of the existing facility, and providing the option for future expansion, all with a healthy life expectancy. The current port is “living on borrowed time” according to an inspection and assessment completed by PND Engineers nearly two years ago. The report also states that “the structure has reached the end of credible 60‐year service life…”

As for funding for the project, the Lutak Dock is among the borough’s top legislative priorities. But it’s unlikely the state will give money to Haines for both the decrepit sewage treatment plant and the dock.

“My experience is, if you have a solid design, it’s a lot easier to go chasing money after that.”

Engineering firms vying for the job will get scored – up to 100 points – on specific criteria including cost, quality of the proposal, overall experience, and whether they’re local. Local bidders get a five points.

The next Port and Harbor Advisory Committee meeting is Feb. 25 at 10:30.