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Expensive Emergency Repairs to Westgold Dock Are Almost Complete

Aerial view of Nome's port.

Repairs at the Westgold Dock in Nome are almost complete. During Thursday’s meeting, Port Director Joy Baker told the Port Commission that the $1.4 million repair project conducted by STG Incorporated is expected to be done before the end of August.

This is slightly later than the originally projected, mid-August deadline. The emergency funds were paid by the City of Nome, and now, Baker says the Port will owe the City for the full amount:

“We won’t be putting any money in the bank. Whatever we make this summer will go to the city to start paying what we owe them. I think we probably had at least a third.”

The high price tag is in part due to the expedited timeline: a resolution put forth to the City Council stated that only STG could complete the repairs in time. The crack in the sheet pile was discovered in early June, and further excavation uncovered that the tail wall was separated from the wye.

With the summer season still underway and the Port unsure of how much money they’ll be bringing in, they decided to delay creating a fiscal plan for repair and capital improvements until their September meeting.

As the Port looks toward the autumn, they turned to Commissioner Gay Sheffield for sea ice conditions. She called the low levels of ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas “unprecedented.”

“So we’ve been pumping up a lot of warmer ocean water on the bottom and from the top.”

Sheffield has been working with UAF climatologist Rick Thoman and shared that, right now, the earliest estimate for Nome to have ice coverage is Christmas. But if fall storms go late into September, the port might not see ice until as late as January.

Thursday evening began with a joint work session between the Port and Planning Commissions. The next regular Port Commission meeting is scheduled for September 17.

Image at top: file photo: An aerial view of Nome’s port. Photo: Joy Baker, City of Nome.

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