Knik Construction plans to build large dock at construction yard

by Ben Matheson on March 11, 2014

Drawing from KNIK Construction, Army Corps of Engineers

Drawing from KNIK Construction, Army Corps of Engineers

Knik construction wants to build an 850-foot long dock in the Kuskokwim River at their landing downriver of the port. The application has been filed with the Army Corps of Engineers. KNIK says they have lost up to 40 feet of the bank over the last 18 years from erosion. The gravel filled sheet piling would give long protection to erosion. The City of Bethel is pushing back, arguing that the main channel will be obstructed.

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The dock would fill in 2.9 acres and stretch about 100 feet out from the shoreline out into the river. The extension would be about 150 feet from the deepest part of the channel, according to the Corps of Engineers. When a barge ties up, that would extend further yet towards the channel.

Glen Justice is with the Regulatory Division with the Army Corp of Engineers. He says the Corps will be engaging with the Coast Guard to determine the impacts to navigation.

“To make sure there is adequate separation distance, and their standards are met, so there’s no navigation issue,” said Justice.

Knik would use about 40,000 cubic yards of sand gravel fill and another 1,600 cubic yards of riprap armor rock.

The City of Bethel may be expressing its opposition to the plan. The council will consider a resolution tonight that asks for changes. The resolution says the new dock would create a choke point in the river and create a hazard to navigation for deep draft boats and smaller craft.

Knik Construction’s Alaska Manager, Dan Hall says that the dock will actually improve the navigation channel, as the company will not have to bring barges in perpendicular to the shore. He says traffic that used to go around the barge that was perpendicular to the beach will have a wider navigable channel.

The city says summer construction would force barges to stay upriver longer. They say that translates to higher fuel prices for residents of the Y-K Delta.

Knik is still in the planning and permitting stage. The earliest construction would be in summer of 2015. The Army Corp of Engineers is accepting comments until March 19th.

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