Under way in harbor: big projects

Runners, walkers, bicyclists and rollerbladers are making good use of the recently extended Spit Trail. Walls of the new harbormaster’s office are going up. Now, a project is about to kick off within the harbor itself.

“By this time next year, wow, the harbor will have a whole different look,” Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins told the Homer City Council at its Monday meeting.

The schedule of the harbor work includes:

Sept. 2: Water shut off in the harbor. The electricity also will be shut off for F, G and H floats.

Sept. 4: Removal of 900 feet of A float from ramp 2 to K float; remove ramp 3; remove J float.

Sept. 7-23: Install all replacement floats and ramp 3. Electricity and water line systems will be installed after the new floats are in place. 

Sept. 23: Remove R and S floats.

Sept. 25-Oct. 4: Install new R and S floats.

Water is shut off in the harbor during the winter, but this project will make that happen sooner rather than later.

“We’re shutting off the water a month and a half early this winter and that’s kind of a big deal,” said Hawkins. “It’s unavoidable at this point but it’s still pretty frustrating for a lot of boat owners to lose that water.”

Water will still be available on EE float for fill-ups and wash-downs.

The project requires that boats in the affected areas be temporarily relocated. 

“We’ll put out notices to individual boat owners,” said Hawkins. “All boats on A float, between ramp 2 and the other side of ramp 3 will have to move.”

Boats in the 20-foot stalls can move into transient areas. Owners of boats in the 32-foot stalls will need to contact the harbormaster’s office about arrangements.

“Hopefully we have enough stalls to put them in,” said Hawkins. 

The work will essentially make an island out of F, G and H floats.

“Those boat owners need to get in touch with us and talk about whether they want to move to another berth if one is available, or move to transient moorage or stay in place and use a skiff to get back and forth,” said Hawkins. 

The work is being done by Harris Sand and Gravel from Valdez. New floats started arriving by barge Monday and were being unloaded into the harbor on Tuesday.  Separately, they resemble big puzzle pieces, each one made to fit the pieces that will eventually attach to it. Each float extension is marked to indicate where in the big puzzle it goes.  

Currently 57 feet long, Ramp 3 will be replaced with a 100-foot ramp, which will provide increased accessibility to the harbor. 

“It will have a much slower, less steep incline,” said Hawkins. 

Most of the construction will be completed by Sept. 22, with the exception of the replacement of R and S floats. 

“Truthfully, if you look at the big picture, if you’re going moose hunting, that’s the time to do it,” said Hawkins of activities not related to boating that can be done during the project. 

“Those businesses that need to work everyday, that’s different. We’ll find you another location, but if you’re a private boat owner thinking about taking a trip, take the trip and take a break from the boat for a couple of weeks.”

Work on the new harbormaster’s office is well underway. Steiner’s North Star Construction Inc. of Homer was awarded the $2,087,697 contract. The new facility is located next to the Kachemak Voyager ticket office.

Designed by Klauder and Company Architects, the single-story building has a curved harbor-facing view. It includes space for administrative staff, harbor officers, a lobby and counter for addressing the public’s needs and a conference room. A garage will accommodate routine maintenance.

The new location also provides easier access to drivers of boat-towing vehicles.

Hawkins anticipates the building to be completed by late winter or early spring. 

For a diagram of the harbor and floats, visit the Port of Homer’s “transient moorage” site on the web at cityofhomer-ak.gov/port/transient-moorage.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.