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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awards contract for Akutan harbor project

ANCHORAGE - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, has awarded a $31.9 million contract to Knik Construction Co., Inc., of Anchorage to construct a boat harbor at Akutan, on an island in the Aleutian Island chain.

The project involves constructing two rock breakwaters totaling approximately 1,500 feet in length and dredging 960,000 cubic yards of material to create an entrance channel and mooring basin. The contractor will obtain, deliver, and place rock for the breakwaters. Estimated date for completion is September 2012.

Akutan is one of five top United States commercial fishing ports with crabbers, trawlers, smaller vessels and skiffs drawn there for the fish processing industry on the island. Located 35 miles east of Unalaska and 766 air miles southwest of Anchorage, Akutan does not have protected moorage for its fishing fleet despite waves of 5 to 6 feet that are common and severe storms that can sustain waves of 8 feet or more.

During storms, vessels currently anchor in the head of the bay for protection with a watch crew onboard. Often the crews maintain power to prevent dragging their anchors.

Total federal funding of $28.6 million came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Aleutians East Borough, the local sponsor, provided $3.27 million.

The local sponsor will establish a 40-acre conservation easement near the project to mitigate for impacts to wetlands and fish streams.

The Corps is spending ARRA money as quickly as possible in order to help put local contractors to work and help in the nation's economic recovery.

"We are moving quickly to get this money into the hands of the people who will create jobs while simultaneously working to ensure the best use of these Recovery Act funds," said Brig. Gen. Mark W. Yenter, commanding general and division engineer for the Corps' Pacific Ocean Division. "To date, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pacific Ocean Division has obligated $66 million, or 93 percent, of the $71 million allocated for Civil Works projects in Alaska.  Nearly $59 million of this amount has been contracted out for critically needed navigation projects, to include constructing a harbor at Akutan and work at Seward Harbor, Anchorage Harbor, and Cordova Harbor."

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