By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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The $13.7 million dock replaces a decrepit pier that was deemed unsafe.
Makah tribe General Manager Meredith Parker said the new infrastructure will be significant for the tribe’s fishing fleet and Neah Bay at large.
“It’s a great benefit to the entire community, the community of our fishermen, our fishermen’s families, the whole tribe,” Parker said.
A grand opening celebration is planned for 10 a.m. Oct. 10.
The new dock is the first phase of a two-part project that includes an additional $6 million in moorage improvements to support an expanded role for oil spill response vessels, which already dock in Neah Bay.
“That’s a big part of the overall project,” said Bob Buckingham, Port of Neah Bay director.
The 400-foot commercial dock has a two-lane trestle for vehicles, a 130-foot pier, an ice house, expanded ice production, office space and six cranes, or hoists.
“It’s looking great,” Buckingham said.
“It’s solid construction.”
The new dock will allow for sorting, packing and shipping directly from the dock on semi-trucks that could not safely navigate the fragile old pier.
“The other one was pretty worn out,” Buckingham said.
A Seattle engineering firm declared the old dock unsafe to use without substantial repairs.
Tribal staff and port officials sought funding for a new dock and eventually received a $1.2 million design grant from the federal Economic Development Administration in 2012.
In 2013, the port hired Berger ABAM of Seattle to design the dock.
Pre-construction phases were expedited after a forklift operator was injured when he fell through a rotted part of the old dock deck on Aug. 28, 2013.
The tribe immediately imposed tighter restrictions on the nearly 70-year-old dock, and its council directed planners to replace the dock with a state-of-the-art facility in the original configuration.
Nearly 20 environmental permits, studies, assessments, consultations, surveys, certificates and temporary leases were obtained in the following months, while the Makah Tribal Council mounted a “full court press” to identify funding sources, according to a tribal newsletter.
The council ultimately decided to invest settlement monies to help pay for the project.
The tribe awarded a $10.4 million construction contract to Manson Construction of Seattle, which deployed local subcontractors.
Funding for Phase 2 is being sought from shipping companies that ply the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.