Nugget file photo

In-water work on port expansion won’t begin until 2025

The contract for the construction work on Phase One of the planned Port of Nome expansion won’t be awarded until late summer, said Joy Baker, project manager for the port.
The City of Nome had previously said they expected the contract to be awarded by May, but Baker told the Port Commission last week that she speculated it wouldn’t be awarded until July or August. She later confirmed to the Nugget that this means in-water construction won’t begin until 2025.
Baker said the Corps is projecting a date sometime in the middle of February for the request for proposals to be published.
The Port Commission met for its regular monthly meeting last Thursday ahead of a busy week of events related to the Port of Nome’s future.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was scheduled to hold a signing ceremony for its project partner agreement with the City of Nome on Thursday at noon, paving the way for contractors to bid on Phase One of the expansion.
The City of Nome was also set to host a team of planners coming up with a strategy for Nome’s waterfront development.
Last year, the City of Nome hired consultants to conduct two studies related to the Port of Nome’s transformation into the country’s first deep-draft Arctic port. One study will offer guidance on how the tariff rate should be updated. The other is focused on the strategic development of shoreside infrastructure.
The planners behind those studies were set to come to Nome this week for open-forum meetings with the public on Tuesday and Thursday to gather input. They were also scheduled to meet with the Port Commission on Wednesday.
During last week’s Port Commission meeting, members briefly discussed tsunami preparedness. The topic had come up several months ago after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake triggered tsunami warnings for parts of the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak Island in July.
Harbormaster Lucas Stotts said he consulted with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Earthquake Center, as well as the state’s tsunami program manager. He said that UAF currently has a lot of products on its website, such as maritime response maps and inundation maps to help communities make plans and identify vulnerable areas.
But right now, there’s no such information for the Nome area.
“When you go through and start looking at the inundation maps, it’s Southeast and Central Alaska, and that’s pretty much it,” Stotts said. “They have the Bering Sea listed, but as high as they go is Dillingham.”
Stotts said he would keep the commission informed about whether any of the researchers or managers would be interested in looking into tsunami risks for the region, “just so even if it is an unlikely scenario we would have plans of some kind.”
Commissioner Gay Sheffield noted that there are historical stories and traditional knowledge about tsunamis in the region. She said some stories are further in the past for St. Lawrence Island. When the devastating 1964 earthquake struck Southcentral Alaska, the people of Diomede witnessed six- to eight-foot thick ice shearing from north to south on an otherwise calm day, Sheffield said.
In other news, Stotts also informed the commission that the reality TV show “Bering Sea Gold” will start filming again at the end of the month. Last year the show didn’t film in Nome, but Stotts said the production just applied to film at the port again.


The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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