It’s taken almost two decades, but soon the city of Port Lions will finally have another barrier to protect its boats from waves and currents.
Since the 1980s, boats at the Port Lions’ harbor have had one wall between them and the open ocean, but it hasn’t been enough to keep rough seas out of the marina. Kathryn Adkins is the city clerk for Port Lions. She says the city has known for a long time it needed a second breakwater, but she says it took a lot of work to get it made.
“Lots of time and effort on the behalf of many mayor.”
Adkins says the city has put off important updates to the harbor because it’s taken so long to build the barrier.
“Our harbor was rebuilt in I think in 2011, but we only did half of it because we knew that without that second breakwater it wouldn’t protect the rest of the harbor.”
Alaska’s Army Corps of Engineers began working on the second breakwater in the late nineties. Adkins says it’s normal for projects like this one to take a while.
Kathryn Adkins: “Anything with the corps of engineers is a process”
Thareth Casey: “You have to have the authorization from congress, the appropriation from congress, the local sponsor has to have their side funds, and then the federal side has to have their side of the funds.”
Thareth Casey is the former Army Corps of Engineers Port Lions project manager.
“So in civil works when all those things come together it’s almost like having the stars align.”
And it’s taken almost 20 years for those stars to align. Casey worked on the project for about 3 of those years and ultimately says it was rewarding.
“It can get frustrating at times. We are an organization of engineers and we like to see things built. When it takes this long to get it built it can be really challenging and difficult. So when we have these events we celebrate them.”
The total cost to design and construct the new breakwater is $10.5 million, but Port Lions will only have to pay 20 percent of the cost. The rest is subsidized by the federal government.
Construction is currently under way and Casey says it should be done later this fall.The City of Port Lions plans on extending its harbor once the breakwater is completed, which will allow residents to have more space to tie up their boats.