Nome Port Commission Delays Decision on Thornbush Pad, Cost is ‘Out of the Question’

An aerial view of Nome's small boat harbor and port. Photo: Joy Baker, City of Nome.

The Nome Port Commission discussed winter storage requests, updates on projects, and the continuing issue of the Thornbush Pad during their meeting last Thursday [October 15].

A majority of the discussion centered around the surface settlement of the Thornbush Pad, an industrial site of land around the Port that has experienced significant material loss in recent years.

Harbormaster Lucas Stotts described the potential amount of materials needed for the project and the cost.

The initial survey is complete, Bristol came back with some estimates. As of right now, they are estimating 25,000 cubic yards to bring it back from grade to where it was, that’s how much it settled. Even that initial cost is something like $200,000 to 300,000.

– Lucas Stotts, Nome Harbormaster

Stotts said that spending $300,000 on this project is “out of the question” with the upcoming year’s budget. He brought up two potential cost-effective solutions, in addition to just replacing lost materials.

One alternative is to level higher spots on the pad to fill in the lower spots. Another, is to fill the low areas with dredge spoils and the top with rocky material.

The Port Commission decided to hold off on making a decision until more testing is done within the next few months.

Regardless, that will be step one, we’ll dig in and find funding, maybe we’ll work to determine a more precise quantity in a small area, find out what the worst spot is, and try to find funding and the materials for it. And if we can make that happen this year, see if we can’t move [forward] with that.

– Lucas Stotts, Nome Harbormaster

According to Stotts, the Thornbush Pad could potentially be used as a source of revenue by providing space for stockpiling and storing materials.

The Nome Port Commission also received a couple of requests for winter storage from New Horizon and the High Noon, which were approved.

The group then discussed projects that are moving forward in the coming months. A portion of work on the Inner Harbor CAP 107 Study has recently been completed through the City’s work in kind agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project to replace the concrete launch ramp was put out for bid at the beginning of the month, and construction bids will be due in early November.

All seven commissioners were present for the meeting, but Port Director Joy Baker was out on leave. The Nome Port Commission will meet again on November 19th.

Image at top: An aerial view of Nome’s small boat harbor and port. Photo: Joy Baker, City of Nome (2015).