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Harbor rebuild deadline extended

Coastal Commission makes emergency decision

The behind-schedule rebuilding project in Crescent City Harbor’s inner boat basin caught a small break on Friday when the California Coastal Commission granted permission for in-water work to continue at least through Tuesday.

Dutra Construction, the company tasked with the $33 million harbor project, was required to cease in-water work, including installation of pilings, by midnight of Thursday, Nov. 15.

Late Friday morning, Harbormaster/CEO Richard Young was informed of the Coastal Commission’s decision to allow a few more days of work, an emergency decision made by the commission’s executive director.

Coastal Commission staff is considering a longer extension and is expected to make a decision before Tuesday, Young said.

The Coastal Commission’s concern right now is the impact on salmon in Elk Creek, Young said.

“We’ve been working with National Marine Fisheries Service to provide them with any 
additional information they may need so they can make a recommendation regarding the impact on salmon,” Young said.

If Dutra and harbor staff can prove that there is no significant impact to pinnipeds and salmonids of concern, they hope the full commission will lift the winter work window restrictions, which do not allow in-water work from Jun. 15 to Nov. 15.

With the additional in-water work days, Dutra will continue to install pilings to prepare the fast-approaching commercial crab season. 

Pilings being installed now are only being driven 10 to 15 feet deep with a vibratory hammer, Young said. That method was adopted after a critical failure of a specialized drill bit, designed for drilling and installing harbor pilings.

The first massive section of H Dock was dropped into the basin on Friday and floated evenly, Young said.

H Dock, constructed with 16-foot wide, 39-foot long and 7-foot high sections, is the first dock that a tsunami surge would make contact with. It’s been called the wave attenuator or “wave stopper,” and it’s designed to minimize the force of tsunami surges.

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