Construction work is underway and on schedule to build Port of Alaska’s new Petroleum and Cement Terminal (PCT).
Pacific Pile and Marine started building the PCT trestle and deck in late April. The PCT will be a pile-supported dock located south of existing Port of Alaska docks, adjacent to Alaska Basic Industries Inc.’s cement-storage dome. It will replace Petroleum Oil Lubricants Terminal 1 (POL1), Port of Alaska’s primary petroleum dock and Alaska’s only bulk cement-handling dock. POL1 opened in 1965, is severely corroded, and suffered significant structural damage during the Nov. 30, 2018 M7.1 earthquake.
This first phase of PCT construction is expected to continue until November 2020. The contract to complete PCT construction in 2021 is expected to be awarded in July 2020, with construction scheduled to resume next spring. The plan is to construct the PCT trestle and loading platform this year, and then return next year to build the fendering and mooring dolphins and install utilities and petroleum and cement handling infrastructure. The PCT should be completed and operational in late 2021.
Workers plan to drive some 200 piles between April and early August of this year. About 125 piles will be temporary and extracted between mid-August and September. Pile extraction is a relatively quiet process. The schedule calls for six-day work weeks with most activities between 7 am and 7 pm, but tides may occasionally shift work hours outside of this window. Beluga whale and other marine mammal activities will also dictate pile-driving activities. Pile driving noise and vibration is expected to be similar or less (for some temporary piles that are smaller/ shorter) than noise and vibration experienced during the 2016 test pile program.
The PCT is expected to cost a total of about $208 million when it is completed, but this figure will vary depending upon the final cost of 2021 construction work and the final cost of financing. The PCT project is the first phase of Port of Alaska’s Modernization Program (PAMP) that aims to replace aging docks and related infrastructure. The PCT must be completed before workers can demolish Port of Alaska’s POL1 and general cargo terminal 1 to make room for new general cargo terminals. Municipal officials and Port of Alaska stakeholders are still determining the scope and plan for replacing Port of Alaska’s aging general cargo terminals.
Port modernization will:
- Replace aging docks and related infrastructure
- Improve operational safety and efficiency
- Accommodate modern shipping operations
- Improve facility resiliency – to survive extreme seismic events and Cook Inlet’s harsh marine environment
The total modernization program cost is expected to exceed $1 billion over the next decade.