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South Whidbey Harbor project enters final months

Workers put on the final touches for the South Whidbey Harbor expansion project on Thursday, Jan. 2. Port of South Whidbey officials said the $1.7 million project should be completed in early February.  - Celeste Erickson / The Record
Workers put on the final touches for the South Whidbey Harbor expansion project on Thursday, Jan. 2. Port of South Whidbey officials said the $1.7 million project should be completed in early February.
— image credit: Celeste Erickson / The Record

After a bumpy year, the South Whidbey Harbor Expansion project is on the verge of completion.

Workers currently are building piping and will follow with electrical work and the dock utility station until February, said Port of South Whidbey Commissioner Curt Gordon.

The project has entered the end-phase where primarily utility work remains, he said.

“The water work is pretty much complete, we’re on to the nuts and bolts,” Gordon said.

The aim of the project is to expand the capacity of the marina to allow for more and larger boats. The $1.7 million project will expand the existing harbor to include 400 feet of additional dock space to the harbor. The project is scheduled to be completed in early February.

The contingency budget — a fund used to cover unexpected costs — continues to hover near 10 percent of the total budget cost. The current amount is around 8 percent, or $138,000. Of that, change orders to the contract account for about 6 percent, more than $100,000, while the remaining 2 percent accounts for unexpected payments, such as the disposal of soil contaminated with old fuel.

In the December regular meeting, Gordon addressed change order issues with Shannon Kinsella, an engineer with Reid Middleton, who helped design the project.

“We’re conscious that this project has been stretched out and we’re trying to work so that we don’t end up asking for more or above what we had estimated,” Kinsella said.

Port of South Whidbey staff have dealt with many project problems, both on and offshore. But for many on the team it’s all part of the game in marine construction. The problems for the project have ranged from a sunken crane to readjusting cables used to level and anchor the dock.

As the project comes to a close, staff will be watching another potential issue. A sunken tire reef is spreading out on the seafloor. At this point the reef is not harmful to the project, but port officials are keeping tabs on its progress.

“We’re watching to see if anything down there would be damaging to the lines,” said Port Operations Manager Ed Field during the meeting.

Once the project is completed, port officials hope to open the new dock for public use by April.

“There’s not a lot of excitement now, but I’m happy things seem to be tightening up and going well,” Gordon said. “It’s turned out to be a great facility.”

 

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