Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Monday, June 10 @ 3:10 p.m. / Infrastructure, Local Government, Ocean

Crescent City Harbor Greenlights Additional Geotechnical Work For Seawall Replacement

Crescent City Harbor commissioners learned last week that additional geotechnical studies were needed to satisfy updated California Geological Survey requirements. | File photo: Andrew Goff

Three Crescent City Harbor commissioners last week signed off on additional geotechnical work connected to the replacement of a seawall near Citizens Dock.

The work will give Moffatt & Nichol, the firm contracted to design the project, a better understanding of the bedrock the seawall is anchored to, according to a May 17 proposal from the company to Harbormaster Tim Petrick.

The information gleaned from the geotechnical study will also be important as the Harbor District continues to go through the permitting phase for the project, according to Petrick.

“In 2022, they changed some of the seismic requirements and looped us in with Humboldt, and Humboldt as a much much higher standard for seismic requirements,” Petrick told commissioners on June 4. “If we were to have to meet their seismic requirements for the seawall it nearly doubles the cost of the seawall. Whereas if we do this work, if we do this geotechnical work, we’ll be able to use that study to show that we do not need to meet those same requirements.”

Harbor District Board President Harry Adams and Commissioner Wes White were absent.

"They" is the California Geological Survey, whose update of its seismic hazard zone map created additional requirements for Crescent City Harbor’s seawall project, according to Deputy Harbormaster Mike Rademaker. The geotechnical study will be used to appeal those extra requirements, he told the Wild Rivers Outpost on Monday.

“It could be extremely onerous if it’s not changed,” he said. “Our gut feeling is it’s not going to be difficult to have it changed.”

The work is expected to cost an additional $160,000, according to Moffatt & Nichol’s proposal. According to Petrick, that will be covered through the $7.8 million U.S. Port Infrastructure Development Program grant the port received in 2022 as well as roughly $1 million grant the Harbor received from the California Coastal Conservancy.

“It falls well within contingency between those two grants,” Petrick told harbor commissioners.

According to Moffatt & Nichol’s proposal for the geotechnical field investigation and additional seawall design, the firm had anticipated using existing “subsurface data” to estimate the strength of the bedrock in the area where the seawall is being constructed. However, there were no samples recovered.

There was also anecdotal data from when the marina was built of drilling being difficult and drill bits being damaged, according to Moffatt & Nichol’s proposal.

The Harbor District’s grant writing consultant, Community Systems Solutions has contacted the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration to get approval to use grant funding for the geotechnical work, according to CSS representative Aislene Delane.

In addition to the seawall replacement project, Moffatt & Nichol is designing the reconstruction of Citizens Dock. Last month, harbor commissioners submitted an application to MARAD for an additional $8 million to $9 million in Port Infrastructure Development Program dollars for the 70-year-old dock.

Any additional PIDP dollars the port receives will go toward the first phase of the reconstruction, which would involve moving the infrastructure serving the commercial fishing fleet to a new dock so the existing one can be rebuilt.

To be eligible for the PIDP grant, the Harbor District would need to contribute a minimum of 20 percent toward the project’s cost.


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