A dispute over the Port of Anchorage expansion could be heading for troubled water.
The Anchorage Assembly voted to approve $250,000 Monday night for potential legal fees if the city decides to enter into discussions with federal inspectors and contractors, who are hashing out details over defects in construction materials.
Mayor Dan Sullivan had asked for $2 million.
“We can’t really talk about the strategy of how we would spend the money, but it’s likely that given all the problems with the port construction that there may be some litigation that we would have to take action with one way or the other,” said Sullivan.
The city retained the firm Seyfarth Shaw, LLC in July for its expertise in construction law.
At issue are steel sheets being used in place of traditional dock pilings. The U.S. Maritime Administration says those sheets were damaged during installation.
“It is a critical piece of infrastructure,” said Assemblyman Patrick Flynn, whose district includes the port. “It’s frustrating that we’re in such a terrible predicament, and I can point fingers all day.”
Channel 2 also contacted PND Engineers, designer of the sheet cell technology in question, but they did not want to comment. Sullivan defends the firm’s work.
“This design is being successfully used in many, many ports including many that are in earthquake zones and that have survived many earthquakes, so I think there’s discussion left to be had on which side is right.”
On November 9th, the assembly will get an update from CH2MHILL on their report of the port project and whether the design plans need to change.
Sullivan is also asking people to vote “yes” on a ballot initiative that if passed next week would provide $453 million in bonds to projects all over the state including $50 million for the Port of Anchorage.
Contact Adam Pinsker