Plans for a Port at Point MacKenzie were conceived as early as 1986. Many years of studies, lobbying, designs, and hard work by Borough staff and citizens resulted in the development of Port MacKenzie. The Port MacKenzie District was created initially with just 5,000 acres of land and is now an 9,033 acre (14 square miles) area available for commercial/industrial development.
During the fall of 1999 Alaska Interstate Construction contracted with the Borough to construct a 500’ bulkhead barge dock that stretches 850’ into Knik Arm at -20 Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) and a 1.2 mile service road from Point MacKenzie Road to the newly constructed barge dock. Work was completed in September 2000 with final vibra-compaction completed in November 2003 by Swalling Construction. The total cost of this project was $428,970 which includes original design costs of the Port Access Road now known as S. Don Young Road.
During May 2001 two 60’ long by 36” wide culverts were added to the Port Access Road by W M Contracting for $9,000.
In October 2004, L & N Ventures completed a filter rock ramp off the South wing wall of the barge dock for vessels with landing ramps to load or offload materials or equipment between 1 hour before and 1 hour after high tide. The cost of this project was $3,420.
The Deep-Draft Dock was added to Port MacKenzie in December 2004. This dock, at -60 MLLW is the northern most deep-draft dock in North America. The dock consists of a 450’ trestle that extends beyond the barge dock with a 1200’ catwalk, and a turnaround area where the trestle meets the catwalk. The dock is equipped with power capstans, quick release hooks, 3-phase electrical power, telephone booth, and high mast lights. This project was completed by MKB Contractors. Several other small contracts were issued for this project including contracts to LB Foster, Skyline Steel, Manson Construction, and PND Engineers. The total cost of this project was $14,920,796.
A telephone booth with a land line was added to the deep-draft dock in March 2005 for ship crews to phone home and emergency use. Birch Mountain constructed the booth for $1,275.
A security guard shack was constructed by the students at Alaska Job Corps in January 2006. This shack is located inside the gate at the entrance to the barge dock and is utilized by our security guards when a ship is at dock. It is equipped with telephone, electricity, and heat. Cost of this project was $7,991.
Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding was secured to construct a terminal building and facilities for a ferry system at Port MacKenzie. In November of 2006 Collins Construction built a two-story, 7,000 square feet terminal building that was constructed on the barge dock. The downstairs will serve as a terminal for ferry passengers and the upstairs includes 7 offices available for lease and a large conference room for up to 25 people. Two fire hydrants were added to the building for fire protection of the building and docks. The total cost of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Ferry Terminal Building was $3,593,060.
Paving of 12.25 miles of the Point MacKenzie Road was successfully completed in May 2008. Alaska Interstate Construction was awarded the contract to improve and pave the road from the “T” to Lu Young Lane. The total cost of this project was $12,981,489.
The Barge Dock at Port MacKenzie was recently expanded by 8.2 acres creating a 14.7 acres surface for temporary storage or construction. This project was completed by Scarsella Brothers in October 2010. $3,750,000 was funded by an Economic Development Administration Grant.
A 3’ top cap will be added during the summer of 2011 and plans are to add additional high mast lights to the increased surface area.
The Lu Young Lane Hill Cut project will reduce the grade from 10% to 5% and improve the road for heavy truck traffic. Plans are to pave the improved section of road after the Port Access Road Hill Cut project has been completed.
Kennerson Construction is currently working on the Port Access Road Hill Cut which will reduce the grade from 10% to 5%, add special drainage flumes and additional culverts to prevent erosion and glaciations on the final descent portion of the road to the Port MacKenzie dock facility. This is a federally funded project and managed by AK DOT.
New additions to come:
The Port MacKenzie Rail Extension project will connect Port MacKenzie to the Parks Highway with a 32.1 mile rail extension. This will open up interior Alaska’s mineral sources for mining and provide access for 100 car trains to reach tidewater for exporting our natural resources. This legacy project for the State of Alaska will provide hundreds of local jobs and great economic benefit to the State. Work has already begun on the rail loop inside the Port MacKenzie District and construction of the main extension is pending the Record of Decision from the Surface Transportation Board.