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Price of float project shocks port

For reasons yet unknown, the bill for Port Orchard Marina’s new activity float has come in $85,000 above estimate.

Officials at the Port of Bremerton, which is funding the new float and its installation, said they still can’t figure out why their estimates were so far off. Fearing they had imposed too tight a timeline on the float’s manufacturers, officials even pushed the projected completion date back three months, from April to early July.

However, the move only brought the total cost down $20,000 — not enough to close the gap.

As a result, the port will have to pull money from elsewhere in its budget to come up with its half of the $285,000 estimated price tag. The balance — $148,000 — will be paid for through state and federal grants.

“We’re confident that we will be able to find adequate funding,” said port Chief Operating Officer Tim Thomson.

The new 40-by-80-foot float will replace an existing 20-by-60-foot guest moorage float located inside the marina’s breakwater. Port officials are a little worried because the new projected completion date — July 1 — falls at the start of Independence Day weekend, when the marina is usually snowed under by visiting boaters.

The original April completion date would have allowed all installation to take place when the marina is typically less busy, thereby causing less impact to guests.

The port is considering asking for permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to work outside the “fish window” — the time when water-based projects will not interfere with the spawning habit of local fish species. However, given the Corps’ strict standards, it appears unlikely such an exemption would be approved.

Happily, Thomson pointed out, because the float will be pre-fabricated, any on-site disruption will last two weeks or less. Installation itself will only take a few weeks, Thomson said — the rest of the time will be spent installing electricity and other sundry extras.

The port plan to minimize aggravation wherever possible and hopes the project won’t disrupt the marina’s normally highly profitable summer season.

“We’re improving the marina to (the guests’) use,” Thomson said. “I think they will understand that.”

The installation will be done by American Civil Constructors, a Seattle-based company. The float will be built in Canada.

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