ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A group of companies using Anchorage’s port want major rehabilitation work delayed while earthquake damage to critical infrastructure is being assessed, officials said.
Eight companies have sent letters to city officials urging them to stop advancing work to build a new petroleum and cement import terminal, The Alaska Journal of Commerce reported Wednesday.
The companies comprising the informal “Port of Alaska Users Group” wrote to Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz June 28 and members of the Anchorage Assembly July 12.
The companies include Matson Navigation Company of Alaska, TOTE Maritime Alaska, Anchorage Fueling and Service Company, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Crowley, Petro Star Inc., Delta Western, and Alaska Basic Industries.
A plan to begin building a $220 million terminal without a strategy to cover all costs would leave the city with a “trestle to nowhere,” the letter said.
The move could also invite tariff increases that impact businesses, the companies said.
Major construction has been on hold since 2010 when damage to sheet pile being installed to support new docks was discovered.
The original port expansion project cost more than $300 million but resulted in little usable infrastructure. Anchorage is currently engaged in a lawsuit against the federal Maritime Administration, which oversaw the failed work, the journal reported.
Inspections following a November earthquake show the port’s two fuel docks remain at risk of failure in another earthquake, said port spokesman Jim Jager.
Earlier this month port engineers de-rated the load capacity of a terminal dock because of earthquake damage. The earthquake was also the likely cause of the failure of 20% of pilings under a petroleum dock, Jager said.
“Engineers say that dock is vulnerable to progressive collapse,” Jager said.
Information from: (Anchorage) Alaska Journal of Commerce, http://www.alaskajournal.com