Tacoma’s Old Town Dock might finally be available for public use next summer – nearly five years after the city barred access because of deterioration.
The Tacoma City Council awarded to Quigg Bros., Inc., of Aberdeen a $1.7 million contract Monday for renovations to the dock on Ruston Way. The project, which is scheduled for completion in June 2013, will replace deteriorated wooden pilings and decking that made the dock a hazard to pedestrians.
“It’s going to restore a dock that’s 130 years old,” said project manager Jeff Jenkins. “It’s a huge part of the history of Tacoma’s waterfront.”
Old Town Dock, first built in 1873, originally served the shipping industry until trade operations moved to the Tideflats. City officials closed it in July 2008, after the Public Works department deemed it unsafe.
The city and Metro Parks Tacoma are paying for the renovation project, which has an estimated total cost of $2.2 million. Metro Parks, which manages the city-owned dock, has chipped in $1 million.
“This project came into existence because of that cooperation,” Jenkins said.
The city started the design portion of the renovations in March 2010. After the design was complete, the city began the process of obtaining a federal permit needed to build on navigable waters.
Throughout the permitting process, Jenkins said the city worked with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife to ensure construction will not adversely affect any local endangered species, specifically the Puget Sound orca and the White River Chinook salmon.
The city received its permit in June after an 18-month process that stretched four months longer than Jenkins had originally anticipated.
“Despite these delays, we’re still on schedule,” Jenkins said.
The city expedited the construction bid process to meet the “fish window” that allows in-water construction only between August and February. Jenkins said the permit calls for crews to install three steel piles to support the dock prior to Oct. 15 and the remaining 54 wooden piles before Feb. 15.
Along with the structural improvements, the renovations will add new hand railings, lighting and fire suppression on the dock, according to city records. The project also will repair a transient moorage dock, replace finger piers and refurbish the dock’s gazebo.
Metro Parks project manager Doug Fraser said dock renovations will not only retain a piece of the city’s history, but also help Old Town businesses attract customers.
“It gives people the opportunity to unload there and have access to the Old Town area,” he said.