Design begins on $15.7 million Port Orchard Marina breakwater replacement project

PORT ORCHARD – Port of Bremerton commissioners last week approved a design contract to replace the aging breakwater that protects the Port Orchard Marina.

Anchorage-based PND Engineers Inc. will handle design, engineering and permitting for the breakwater project, which is estimated to cost $15.7 million.

The Port Orchard Marina breakwater was built in 1974 and is about 20 years past its serviceable life, Port of Bremerton CEO Jim Rothlin said. The 2,300-foot-long barrier protects the marina’s 341 tenant boat slips and 3,000 feet of guest moorage.

“We’re really at a point where it needs to be taken care of, who knows what one bad storm can do,” Rothlin said.

Port officials have been studying what to do with the barrier for years. A report commissioned in 2014 recommended a host of long- and short-term fixes that could extend the life of the breakwater by 10 to 15 years. In 1997, the port spent $6 million to repair covered boat slips damaged by a bad snowstorm.

The new breakwater will have a 50-year lifespan, according to the port’s director of marine facilities, James Weaver.

The marina is an “extremely important asset” and economic driver for the city of Port Orchard and the South Kitsap community, Port Commissioner Gary Anderson said.

“The port recognized that we have an obligation to protect it for the city, for residents of South Kitsap and for everybody that uses it,” Anderson said.

PND Engineering plans to complete habitat and geotechnical surveys this month before starting on the design, which is expected to last into 2021. Construction is anticipated to begin in late 2022 or early 2023, depending on how long it takes to permit and bid the project.

“The wildcard is the permitting timelines, it stretches from a year to two years depending on backlog and capacity,” Weaver told commissioners at the Sept. 8 board meeting. 

Port officials have discussed widening the barrier to allow for larger vessels, like cruise ships, but that will depend on cost, Rothlin said. To minimize closures during construction, contractors will demolish and replace the breakwater in sections.

About $800,000 of the $1.5 million design will be paid for by capital project appropriations from the state, Rothlin said. The port has applied for four or five additional grants and is working with the City of Port Orchard to request $2 million more from the Legislature to help fund the project. About $4-5 million will be paid for directly by the port.

“I’m very excited to be a part of it, it’s a vitally important asset to the city of Port Orchard that needs to be protected,” Anderson said.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said that the Port of Bremerton would work with the city of Bremerton to request funding from the Legislature. The Port is working with the city of Port Orchard.

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