NOAA Breaks Ground on Ketchikan, Alaska port facility

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Federal, state and local officials joined the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Tuesday for the Ketchikan Port Facility groundbreaking ceremony.

The event marked the start of the revitalization project at NOAA’s port facility.

“Building back better with climate-resilient infrastructure is what this NOAA facility revitalization project is all about,” Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves, who attended today’s ceremony, said. “The investment we are making in partnership with the state of Alaska will help ensure that NOAA can continue to support safe navigation and commerce in Alaska efficiently and effectively for years to come.”

In April 2021, NOAA awarded an $18.7 million contract to Alaska-based Ahtna Infrastructure & Technologies, LLC, to make improvements to the facility, including construction of an office building, as well as a floating pier and access bridge, and updated power and water utility systems for servicing visiting ships.

The port facility will become a fully functioning homeport in Alaska, capable of supporting the Ketchikan-based NOAA Ship Fairweather and other vessels from the federal government. The project is expected to be completed by December 2022.

“This project is a major step forward in NOAA’s effort to recapitalize the agency’s fleet and supporting infrastructure,” Rear Adm. Nancy Hann, deputy director of the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps and NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO), said. “We look forward to serving Alaska and the nation from this greatly improved facility.”

OMAO operates, manages and maintains all of NOAA’s research and survey ships, and is staffed by civilians and officers with the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, one of America’s eight uniformed services.