A conceptual drawing for the Haines Portage Cove Harbor Boat Launch Improvements. (PND Engineers)

The conceptual designs for the second phase of the Haines Portage Cove Harbor Expansion are nearing completion. The Haines community got a look the drawings for a drive-down sport fishing ramp and parking lot, and what the improvements are expected to cost.

There’s a notable design change, prompted by safety concerns raised by a resident and supported by the assembly. What may have been a scenic trail between the parking lot and the boat launch is now slated to be just a sidewalk.

The concern is that it’s not safe to have lots of people walking where vehicles are backing up.

“It’s not going to be an elaborate sea walk,” said Brandon Ivanowicz, an engineer with PND in Juneau. “It’s not going to have interpretive signage and trails on it. It won’t have fancy pavers and medallions cast in it.”

At a meeting in Haines, Ivanowicz presented the conceptual designs for the boat launch and parking improvements.

He said it is still important to have a sidewalk in the space between parking and the boat launch.

“We still need to provide a safe pedestrian route,” said Ivanowicz. “So we’re not really going to call it a sea walk. But we still need this designated pathway for pedestrians to walk. Just similar to the side of the road. We’ve got to get people out of the parking area and give them a safe place to walk.”

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has a cooperative agreement with the Haines Borough for this project. Fish and Game is funding most of the improvements.

Right now, the department has $2 million available for the project. By July 2018, it will have another $1.5 million.

The borough has $420,000 set aside for uplands development in the harbor expansion. That comes from a state bond.

Fish and Game could have another $1.5 million for the project in 2019, but that isn’t guaranteed yet.

The cost of the bulk of the improvements is estimated at about $3.7 million. That includes a 10 percent contingency. That would fund construction of a boat launch ramp, boarding float, gravel parking lot, harbor park, sidewalks and curbs.

Ivanowicz said as the design stands right now, the harbor park would replace what is now Lookout Park. It would include a concrete plaza with a decorative medallion in the center. The park would also feature a memorial wall, planter boxes, benches, picnic tables and barbeque pits.

The parking lot has 10 ft. by 22 ft. vehicle stalls. It also has 12 ft. by 50 ft. and 10 ft. by 40 ft. trailer stalls.

There are four additive alternatives that could be considered. Those aren’t in the base bid for the project. The ad alternatives include harbor utilities, lighting, paving and striping. A retaining wall and pad for the harbor office is another alternative.

If all of these options were added to the project, it would bring the cost up to about $5.8 million. Not all of the ad alternatives would be eligible for Fish and Game Funding.

From here, the conceptual design needs to be approved by the planning commission and assembly. After the assembly gives the go-ahead, the project can move into the design phase. There will be public hearings at different stages of design.