Dredging continues during the first phase of the Haines small boat harbor expansion project. (Abbey Collins)

Construction on the $13 million first phase of the Haines small boat harbor expansion has been underway since February. But, work is taking a little bit longer than originally planned. Dredging is causing the holdup.


Contractors are dredging the harbor on a warm, sunny day on the Haines waterfront. After months of work, it’s a familiar sight and sound.

But, this part of the first phase of the harbor project should have been over last month.

“There is certainly a delay with the dredging, of what they were hoping for,” says Haines Public Facilities Director Brad Ryan. “But dredging is scheduled to be done at the end of the month.”

Ryan says the issue lies in the soil on the ocean floor.

“There’s a hard packed layer of soil – of sand and rock from the glacier,” says Ryan. “And so that’s been harder than they anticipated. It was called out in the geotechnical analysis but I think it just took them longer than they thought it would to break through that layer that’s up where they’re dredging right now.”

This delay is likely to push back the timeline for the rest of this phase of the project. Ryan doesn’t know yet how it will affect cost.

“They were hoping to be driving piles by now and that looks like maybe the barge with some of the pile driving equipment is going to come up in the first part of September,” says Ryan. “They hoped to already be up here driving piles.”

But, Ryan says he’s hopeful the work will still get done before the deadline for using grant money.

“From my perspective it’s looking good,” says Ryan. “This slowdown on the dredging is definitely worrisome. But we have until the end of June next summer to be done without needing an extension on the grant.”

The first phase of the project also includes building a steel wave barrier, replacing moorage pilings, and adding on to the uplands area.

Contractors initially planned to complete work by the beginning of 2018.