Architect Carl Blum, left, speaks to Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District commissioners
Joseph Cain, Scott Melancon and Gary Duhon during a tour of the Port of Morgan City’s Government
Emergency and Operations Center Monday. The center is scheduled to be substantially complete by
BY ZACHARY FITZGERALD
Some minor issues have pushed back the projected completion date of the Port of Morgan City’s $11 million Government Emergency and Operations Center by about two weeks to mid-October. Despite delays, work is nearly two-thirds finished on the center, which will house governmental tenants on a daily basis and serve as a command center during emergencies. It is located on La. 182 adjacent to the Morgan City Municipal Auditorium. A groundbreaking to begin construction of the center was held in December 2014. The 35,000-square-foot, Category 5 hurricane-resistant center is being paid for by $7.1 million in state capital outlay money and $3.9 million in Port of Morgan City funds. The two story building will house port officials and U.S. Coast Guard personnel on the first floor with an emergency command center, for events such as hurricanes, located on the second floor. At Monday’s Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District commission meeting, Project Manager Walt Adams said, though progress on the center continues to go well, the estimated substantial completion date has slipped by about two weeks. Adams expects port officials to be able to get the substantial completion certificate by mid-October. Construction on the building is about 60 percent complete, Adams said. The later finish date is mainly due to delays in removing some overhead power and telephone lines at the rear of the building, Adams said. Adams believes the contractor, M.D. Descant of Bunkie, has worked about as hard as it can work, he said. By the end of October, Adams said the building will definitely be ready to accommodate the special systems equipment. In an attempt to recover as much contract time as possible, the contractor deployed temporary air conditioning in the building to reduce the humidity inside, Adams said. The electrical contractor expects to have permanent power to the building within about two weeks, Adams said. Port Director Raymond “Mac” Wade said almost every room in the building will be sound proof, and every wall will consist of double-layered sheetrock. “It’s solid from the outside to the inside. There’s nothing like it anywhere in this part of the country,” Wade said. Also during Monday’s meeting, port officials discussed the major problems they are having with inadequate depth for vessels to travel through in the Atchafalaya River Bar Channel. Port leaders are planning to build their own sidecaster dredge designed specifically to keep the Bar Channel dredged to its authorized 20-foot depth 365 days a year, Wade said. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t have the funds to dredge the channel but once a year, he said. A sidecaster dredge involves using a vessel to agitate the sediment that builds up in the channel and cast it to the side. “It’s the only way we’re ever going to be able to get out of this situation,” Wade said. As of Jan. 2, the corps used $13.6 million to dredge the Bar Channel to a 20-foot depth. Since that time, five to six feet of sediment has built up in the channel, Wade said. Lack of depth in the channel is seriously affecting the number of import-export ships, and oil and gas industry vessels that can navigate the channel, Wade said. The corps has $12 million to dredge the channel this fall but no contractor wants to do it for that amount, Wade said. For about $10 million, Wade believes port officials can the keep it at 20 feet deep all the time with its own sidecaster dredge. The port plans to pay for the dredge itself and then get reimbursed by the corps for operation of the dredge. On Monday, the port commission approved issuing a work order for $2,800 to do a 3-D computer rendering of the port’s proposed sidecaster dredge and approved hiring a regulatory specialist to help with the dredging project. In other business, the commission: —Approved extending EnGarde Consulting’s contract for its work with the Government Emergency and Operations Center through December. —Accepted a change order to increase the amount of the Government Emergency and Operations Center contract by $37,791 to provide the infrastructure to accommodate a portable, 400-kilowatt second backup generator.
Published by Daily Review 08/11/15