Byline: Taylor Hill
LONG BEACH — The 1960s-era wooden docks in Alamitos Bay Marina’s Basin 4 — home to Long Beach Yacht Club slips — have now been replaced by sturdy concrete docks. And boaters moving back into their slips are excited to see the changes. “We’ve been having boats move back into their slips over the past few weeks now, and we’re getting rave reviews about the docks,” said Mark Sandoval, Long Beach Marine Bureau manager.
The new Bellingham Marine-installed system in place at Basin 4 is part of the $98 million Alamitos Bay Marina rebuild project, aimed at updating and renovating the marina. The new system includes new concrete piles and docks that will make for a more stable surface, along with rounded fingers that will make boaters’ approaches into slips easier. An on-dock pump system has also been integrated to serve all slips 30 feet or larger.
Construction began in September 2011, following multiple delays due to funding issues. Work started with three weeks of dock removal and dredging, which was accompanied by a foul stench.
“There was a very strong odor for about three weeks,” Sandoval said at the time. The smell subsided following the removal of the docks and piles Sept. 30, and dredging was completed Nov. 8.
With the concrete docks already poured and ready for implementation prior to the removal of the old docks, the dock construction portion of the $11.8 million Phase 1 plan went smoothly, while work lagged on the landside improvements.
“The real issues we’ve run into were on the landside, including water pipes we needed to replace and asbestos removal in the restrooms we demolished,” Sandoval said.
The restroom’s reconstruction has been put on hold, as nearby Naples Island residents have complained about the increase in size of the new structure, compared to the old one.
While the new boater restroom facility contains the same number of toilets and showers, Sandoval said the size increase was necessary because of contemporary Americans with Disabilities Act requirements — and two new entrance vestibules had to be added to both sides of the building.
“We are evaluating potential alternatives, and expect a decision to be reached in the next few weeks — and construction to be completed in the next couple of months,” Sandoval said. In the meantime, portable toilets will remain on site for boaters. Basin 4 — located between Long Beach YC and the Long Beach Sea Scout Base — had its 239 slips from 20 to 70 feet replaced with 191 slips in the 20- to 60-foot range.
With Basin 4 work wrapping up, Phase 2 of the project began May 13. Boats are being relocated from Alamitos Bay Basin 1 — located along North Marina Drive near the Crab Pot Seafood Restaurant and the city’s marina center offices — for dock demolition to begin.
This phase calls for $19.3 million in funding to cover the demolition of 168 docks and piles, removal of nearly 60,000 cubic yards of sediment and the reconstruction of 149 slips from 35 to 75 feet, with one slip at 115 feet.
Sandoval said the higher cost was partly due to the extra sediment needing to be dredged from the area — 40,000 cubic yards of which is unsuitable for ocean disposal, as traces of mercury were discovered in the sediment.
The material will need to be dredged and barged to the Port of Long Beach’s Middle Harbor Project Confined Aquatic Disposal site, where more than 1.2 million cubic yards of sediment is needed to fill in 54 acres of water area to connect two shipping terminals into one large, modernized terminal.
“We expect dredging to start around June 11, and we have to meet the Port of Long Beach’s June 30 deadline to get the material in there,” Sandoval said. The remaining 20,000 yards of clean sediment will be dredged and sent to the approved LA/2 offshore ocean disposal site.
The Alamitos Bay Marina rebuild project is being funded in phases, with the first phase covered by a $6.8 million California Department of Boating and Waterways (Cal Boating) infrastructure loan and $5 million from unallocated Marina Fund dollars.
Phase 2 has received $12.1 million in a Cal Boating loan, and $7.2 million is scheduled to come out of Alamitos Bay’s Marina Fund, which is funded by boater slip fees and marina revenue.
Sandoval pointed out that the demolition has been approved by Long Beach City Council, but the marina’s funding plan for the dredging and rebuilding of the docks will be up for a vote in June at an upcoming city council meeting.
While there is time for additional funding sources to be located, work on Basin 2 (between the Alamitos Bay marine fuel dock and Seal Beach Yacht Club) and Basin 3 (Between Joe’s Crab Shack and East Second Street), is estimated to cost $20 million and is only 50 percent funded.
Basin 2 work is tentatively planned to be completed by June 2014, and Basin 3 is scheduled for February 2015. Many Long Beach boaters have expressed concerns that the additional funding necessary could mean future slip fee increases.
Sandoval said that additional slip fee increases have not been decided upon, but they would be determined depending on how the marina rebuild project gets financed.
Slip fees in Alamitos Bay Marina were increased 4.4-percent for 2012, and they are expected to increase 2 percent next year, Sandoval said that is below the recommended Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase that the marina has tied to slip fees since 2002.
Upon completion of the marina project, Alamitos Bay will contain 605 fewer slips, losing many in the 20- to 30-foot range, while gaining slips in the 35- to 50-foot range. Alamitos Bay’s current 1,967-slip total will be reduced to 1,646.