Port and city appeal to governor for help on graving dock


Peninsula News Network

Port of Port Angeles and city officials tell Governor Gary Locke the long-term use of the proposed graving dock is a critical issue for the area’s economy. And they ask Locke to do everything he can to fend off private shipyard companies who are fighting the project.

The comments came Thursday morning, as Locke took part in an economic roundtable discussion at Peninsula College. The roundtable was the central stop on the governor’s half-day visit to Port Angeles and gave the Port and the city the chance to press the importance of the proposed graving dock.

The Department of Transportation wants to build the dock for construction of the bridges and pontoons for the new Hood Canal Bridge. After that, local officials have hoped to use the dock for other marine construction. Seattle companies like Todd Shipyards are worried that could steal some of their dry dock business.

During the roundtable, Port Commissioner Len Beil and PA Mayor Glenn Wiggins told Locke in no uncertain terms that unrestricted use of the graving dock was key to the North Peninsula’s economic health.

Locke had no immediate response to the comments about the graving dock. However, later in the afternoon, he did say that the state is “aware of the opposition” expressed by the region’s shipyards, but the state still supports the DOT graving dock. Locke said “we know we need it”, although he stopped short of making any promises of action to sidestep the ship companies’ concerns.

Although there’s been nothing filed as yet, there have been threats of the shipyards launching a legal fight to try and stop the graving dock.

The state is still proceeding with efforts to find a contractor to build the new bridge and the graving dock, with bids almost ready to be awarded by DOT.



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