ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Anchorage officials have hired consultants to help determine the best path forward for the stalled modernization project of the Port of Alaska.
The Anchorage Assembly’s Enterprise and Utility Oversight Committee approved a US$45,000 contract last week for the project management firm Ascent PGM and the consulting firm Northern Compass Group, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported Wednesday.
The Northern Compass Group is led by Mark Begich, a former Democratic U.S. senator and Anchorage mayor.
The assembly last month approved up to $100,000 in funding for consulting work to review the port expansion project, including a determination of why costs have skyrocketed. The consultants will also be tasked with determining design criteria, infrastructure and amenity needs, and the best way to pay for all of it.
The project was initially priced at $350 million, and the U.S. Maritime Administration was put in charge of it. The project ran into construction problems, resulting in the city suing the administration in 2014 to recoup the lost construction funds.
An engineering firm created a new scaled-back design for the project but estimated costs increased nearly $2 billion.
The Anchorage port is the main entrance point for consumer goods and commodities sent to communities across the state. Some of the docks are badly corroded and have fewer than 10 years of operational life left, port engineers have said.
The consultants expect to produce a report by mid-September, Begich said.