The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration last week announced that the City of Seldovia will receive $2.3 million to replace the dock at Jakolof Bay.
The project is one of seven in Alaska funded through the department’s Port Infrastructure Development Program, which in total awarded $72 million to Alaska. In all, $653 million was awarded for port projects throughout the United States, with funding coming from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The $2.3 million in grant funds going to Seldovia will pay for the cost of replacing the floating pier in Jakolof Bay, including design for the new dock, demolition of the existing dock and installation of the replacement pier.
“By replacing the existing pier, the project will remove this economic disadvantage and contribute to an improvement in local freight transportation, improving the port’s competitive advantage and the economic vitality of the surrounding community,” the federal press release announcing the awardees says of Jakolof Bay.
Jakolof Bay is a key access point for the City of Seldovia, which is connected to the bay by a 10-mile road, for people trying to get to Seldovia by water and for people recreating around the area. The dock in 2020, for example, was used to deliver doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to residents in Seldovia.
Per the City of Seldovia, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities finished constructing the dock facilities in Jakolof Bay in 1977 and transferred ownership to the city in 2008. Seven years later, the city received management authority for the tidelands surrounding the dock, which allowed the city to collect fees for use of the dock.
An assessment of the condition of the dock solicited by the City of Seldovia in 2021 projected the lifespan of the structure to be between three and five years. The structure could become unsafe sooner than that, the assessment said, if something like a storm causes immediate damage.
The same assessment recommended full replacement of the dock and estimated the project cost to be around $1.4 million if the city were to manage the project, according to the city.
The city took to social media last Wednesday to celebrate the grant award.
“Big thank you to Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan for their hard work supporting Alaska coastal communities and to Alaska Municipal League for their support during the application process,” the City of Seldovia posted on Facebook.
U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a press release announcing the grantees said ports are “some of the most critical links” in America’s supply chain.
“These investments will help expand capacity and speed up the movement of goods through our ports, contributing to cleaner air and more good-paying jobs as we go,” Buttigieg said.
Among the other six port improvement projects being paid for in Alaska with the federal funds are the construction of utility infrastructure in Nome, the planning of a 40-acre deep water port in Wrangell and the replacement of dock infrastructure in Cold Bay.
A full list of grant awardees can be found on the Maritime Administration website at maritime.dot.gov/grants-finances/federal-grant-assistance/pidp-2023-awards-fact-sheets.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at email@example.com.