Nearly $1 million contract awarded for marine anode installation

The borough assembly approved a $880,294 contract with Juneau-based Global Diving and Salvage to install corrosion-inhibiting anodes at Heritage Harbor and in two locations at The Marine Service Center.

The project is funded through Port and Harbors reserves.

Last March, the Port and Harbors Department discovered that anodes were never attached to the steel pilings at Heritage Harbor when it was completed in 2009. Anodes are pieces of oxidizing metal that prevent underwater corrosion — including them is the industry standard at harbors.

The department also found that The Marine Service Center boat haul-out pier and T-dock were also never fitted with anodes when they were designed and constructed.

Divers will install 592 anodes at Heritage, 100 at the boat haul-out and 102 at the concrete dock.

Harbormaster Steve Miller is not certain why anodes were left off of the facilities over a decade ago, but he guesses that either a serious oversight or funding issue caused the problem.

The borough also invested up to $50,820 in inspection services from Juneau-based PND Engineers to ensure that the anode installation work is performed correctly.

“We don’t have any experts in town to do this,” said Borough Manager Jeff Good at the Oct. 10 assembly meeting. Borough staff hope to avoid any other oversights at the harbor by “(spending) the extra money to make sure it’s done right (and) make sure it meets all the design specs.”

The firm has contributed to a variety of borough projects in the past, including design work for the Mount Dewey trail extension and Shoemaker Bay Harbor.

The inspection costs bring the total project funding to $931,114.

Miller is not certain when work will begin, but since ordering and shipping the anodes could take months, he anticipates a February start date.

As the project approaches, the department will notify harbor and Marine Service Center users about the effect that anode installation will have on operations. “As soon as we have information, we will be sharing that with the public,” Miller said.

Though the assembly awarded both contracts to the lowest bidders in accordance with borough policy, Assembly Member Jim DeBord questioned whether this was the most cost-effective approach in the long run.

The next lowest bid, from Ketchikan-based Alaska Commercial Divers, was only $3,231 more than the bid from Global Dining and Salvage, DeBord pointed out.

“Is there a better company,” he asked, “is there anything outstanding that would be worth potentially going with a couple thousand bucks more?”

“It just really kind of burns me up that we go with the lowest bidder,” he continued later in the meeting, especially since companies can bump up their prices with additional funding requests once work is underway. “We have our backs to the wall and there isn’t really another option.”

 

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