Port will seek bids to upgrade docks

The Port of Olympia will seek bids to replace what are the oldest and some of the busiest docks at Swantown Marina, despite cost estimates running about $250,000 over earlier projections.

The Port Commission unanimously approved a motion to do so Monday night.

Once the bid is awarded, the project will focus on three docks known as the A, B and C docks at the north end of the marina.

The A dock is the guest boat dock at Swantown, which hosts about 3,000 boat nights a year. The dock is 100 percent occupied for this weekend’s Harbor Days celebration, said port harbor director Bruce Marshall.

The B and C docks are used for regular moorage.

Construction of Swantown began in 1983, and the three docks are the oldest and most in need of repairs.

While the docks’ concrete floats are expected to last 50 years, they are secured by wooden timbers and related hardware that need to be replaced sooner.

Some concrete float deck surfaces also will be replaced due to cracking.

The project is expected to cost about $1 million after it was initially identified to cost about $750,000. Engineering director Bill Helbig told the commission it could make up the difference by tapping funds budgeted for other projects that either came in under budget or have yet to get underway.

For example, the port budgeted $500,000 for a new lift for its boat yard, but was able to find one for $375,000. The difference, or about $100,000, can be applied to the docks project, he said.

The commission approved the plan to seek bids, but they also raised questions about the cost of the project, surprised that it has grown.

Helbig attributed the increase to higher material and labor costs. Six years ago the port paid $1.5 million to repair six docks, he said, and costs have risen since then.

Also Monday night:

The commission approved by a 2 to 1 vote a resolution — essentially a public and symbolic statement —“expressing the deep concerns of the Port of Olympia about the threat to life, safety, the environment and economic development” posed by oil trains transporting North Dakota Bakken crude oil through Thurston County.

The resolution, originally proposed by Commissioner George Barner, won support from Commissioner Sue Gunn and passed Monday night.

The resolution goes on to request that the Port of Grays Harbor reconsider siting three oil terminals and requests that the city of Hoquiam not approve construction of the terminals.

Commissioner Bill McGregor voted against it.

“I think that we’re interfering with the process of what other jurisdictions —ports and cities — have to go through in the permitting process,” McGregor said. “It’s also more of a federal issue, and I think our federal legislators and senators (need to address oil trains).”

McGregor favored a resolution that addressed the transport of hazardous cargoes through the county, while a third resolution, which was edited by the Washington Public Ports Association, called for actions to increase the safety of oil trains moving through the state.

“This is serious business,” Barner said about his resolution. “And we have to get the attention of our governor and our legislators and our congressional people so they can realize we want some action.”