Assembly Okays CH2M Hill to Lead Troubled Port Project

Tegan Hanlon, with the Anchorage Daily News, interviews CH2M Hill Vice President Stacey Jones outside Assembly chamber Tuesday evening.
Tegan Hanlon, with the Anchorage Daily News, interviews CH2M Hill Vice President Stacey Jones outside Assembly chamber Tuesday evening.

The Anchorage Assembly approved awarding the engineering firm CH2M Hill a 30-million dollar contract to get the Port of Anchorage Project back on track at Tuesday’s meeting. But assembly members had some questions.
Stacey Jones, a vice president with the Colorado-based engineering firm CH2M Hill stood before thee Assembly to insure them they were making the right choice.

“Our team has been carefully selected to include individuals with local experience, relevant port and maritime facilities expertise and an understanding of local permitting and conditions.”

CH2M Hill will provide project and construction management the the Port intermodal Expansion Project.
The project was started back in 2003 under Mayor George Wuersch and Port Director Bill Sheffield. The Design was approved in 2006 Under Mayor Mark Begich. The municipality has been investigating problems with the port project since they arose 2009. That’s when the ‘open-cell sheet pile’ design crumpled and separated during construction. The Sullivan administration has led the push to get the Municipality reimbursed for it’s losses. The U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration managed the previous project. CH2M Hill purchased the now defunct Veco Corporation, which was involved in the work that had problems and is now party to a lawsuit by the city. Assembly member Adam Trombley asked Jones about that:

“Is it typical of CH2M Hill to do business or to enter into new contracts with an entity public or private that you’re currently in litigation with on the exact same project that you just bid on?”

Jones said it wasn’t typical but did happen from time time and nobody from Veco who worked on the former project would work on the new one.
The contract with CH2M Hill is for 30 million dollars over five years with the option for two extensions at 12 more million dollars each. Design and and engineering work is anticipated to take 18-months to two years with construction likely beginning again in 2016. The municipality has spent upwards of 300 million public dollars on the project so far and are requesting 100 million more from the legislature this year.

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Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.

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