Officials in Anchorage, Alaska, are hopeful that a new project manager can finally finish a port expansion that remains a decade late and up to $300 million over budget.
The city said on Jan. 2 that it has selected CH2M Hill Cos. to manage construction.
Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan said the firm, whose selection still must be approved by city legislators on Jan. 14, can "set time lines and benchmarks to make sure the project is on time and meeting the expectation of the municipality."
CH2M Hill beat out six other companies vying for the five-year contract worth $30 million annually, with options for two $12-million extensions.
The other bidders' names cannot be released, city official Ronald S. Hadden told ENR, but project sources say they include Arcadis, AECOM and a team of URS and Moffatt and Nichol.
In a report last spring done for the municipality in its previous role as a consultant, CH2M Hill blamed the project's patented open-cell sheet-pile design for its troubles. The sheets buckled during construction, and portions already installed proved faulty and seismically vulnerable, according to the city and CH2M Hill.
The original design and construction now is mired in lawsuits. Defendants now are awaiting a federal court decision on their motions for dismissal of a suit filed against them last year by Anchorage.
They claim either changed engineering criteria or shoddy work by subcontractors as the source of the project's problems to date.
One defendant is Veco Alaska Inc., a firm CH2M Hill acquired in 2007. But according to a report in the Alaska Journal of Commerce, CH2M Hill contends it not liable because Veco's liability for work done in 2006 now has expired under state law.
Sullivan says that will not affect the parent firm's contract.
While CH2M Hill won't produce the new design or perform the construction to add berthing space, it will manage the project from its Anchorage office when construction restarts, likely not until 2016.
Redesigning the project "will be a much more detailed process, and part of the consideration will be what we can afford," Sullivan says.
At least $300 million in federal funds already have been spent on the project, which now could cost $1 billion to complete, five times more than the original $211 million estimated when the U.S. Maritime Administration began overseeing it in 2003.
The agency is no longer involved. The contract of Integrated Concepts and Research Corp., which performed the original construction, starting in 2006, was terminated in 2012.