The City and Borough of Juneau’s Docks and Harbors Department announced Friday evening that it will delay opening bids for a $54 million floating cruise ship berth project until the city is granted ownership of submerged tidelands by the State of Alaska.
Bids had been scheduled to be opened on Tuesday, November 19th. But now they will remain sealed until at least January, according to Port Director Carl Uchytil.
“The new bid opening date will be announced following the Final Finding and Decision of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources to convey tidelands to the City & Borough of Juneau,” Uchytil said in a press release.
DNR’s preliminary decision recommends transfer of the nearly 18 acre parcel to the city. But Uchytil said the bid opening will be delayed out of “an abundance of caution.”
The city this week received four bids for the project. However, they were to remain sealed until next Tuesday’s opening.
The Port Director could not be reached for comment late Friday. He and Port Engineer Gary Gillette came under fire this week by the Juneau Assembly and concerned citizens for their decision to move forward with the project despite the unresolved land conveyance and for not revealing the matter before a state public comment period started last week.
Interested parties have until December 9th to comment on DNR’s preliminary decision approving the land transfer. After that there will be a review period before the final decision is issued. DNR officials say the review period could take several weeks.