Birch bark texture.

Ahtna Kanas Fall 2018

One Team, One Ahtna Spirit Shines with Three Subsidiaries Joining Forces on Alaska Long Range Radar Site Projects

Alaska Long Range Radar Site Projects

Ahtna Design-Build, Inc. (ADB), in a Joint Venture with CDM Smith (Ahtna-CDM Smith JV), was awarded a $23 million Design-Build Regional Engineering And Construction Contract (RE&C) contract by the West Region AFCEC; to design and replace existing diesel bulk storage facilities located at remote Tatalina and Cape Newenham Long Range Radar Sites (LRRS) in Alaska. The Cape Newenham LRRS is located on the south Bering Sea coast approximately 480 miles southwest of Anchorage. This site is only accessible via a barge landing located on Bristol Bay or via a gravel airstrip. The Tatalina LRRS is located in the upper Kuskokwim River Delta and 240 miles northwest of Anchorage and is also only accessible by air or water. The facility is situated on 4,968 acres at the base of Takotna Mountain on the eastern flank of the Kuskokwim Mountains in interior Alaska. Tatalina LRRS is accessible via a gravel airstrip and via a barge landing site, commonly known as Sterling Landing, located on the Kuskokwim River.

Construction truck driving over bridge

The project scope required design and installation of a 280,000-gallon diesel fuel system (consisting of eight 35,000-gallon tanks) at Cape Newenham and a 225,000-gallon diesel fuel system (consisting of six 37,500-gallon tanks) at Tatalina. In addition to the tanks, each system required a custom-built control building and ancillary piping and electrical control systems. While the diesel storage facility designs developed by our JV team are similar, each of these remote Alaska LRRS locations presented its own unique logistical challenges. Through relationships created with many vendors and suppliers, we developed effective solutions for each site to transport required equipment, materials, and personnel resources utilizing multiple barges, landing craft, and aircraft. Some of these logistical coordination issues included shipment of fourteen custom built 26-ton (52’x14’x14’) Dike Fuel Tanks from Seattle up to Seward and then loading of additional materials and heavy equipment for transport through the Aleutian chain for delivery to Cape Newenham and to Bethel (for staging prior to shipment to Tatalina). From Bethel, the tanks, equipment, and materials were loaded onto lighter barges for the 8-day, 600-mile trip up the Kuskokwim River to Sterling Landing, and from there everything had to be transferred to haul trucks for a treacherous 16-mile trip over the mountain on a substandard haul road to the Tatalina site. This was especially challenging for shipment of the 6 large tanks and the road required extensive maintenance and widening to permit transport.

Mr. Brian Gough, ADB Senior Program Manager, serves as the Project Manager responsible for the design, planning, execution, monitoring, and contract administration with the Air Force. Mr. David Frenzel, ADB Director of Construction, is our Construction Manager and has a wide range of experience working in remote environments under extreme conditions; including extensive barge and aircraft logistics work in remote locations in Alaska. They both have been critical in managing the day-to-day activities and working with the Air Force representatives in getting both projects in the field ahead of schedule.

Relating to the true spirit of Team Ahtna, our JV team was fortunate to be able to engage two of our sister companies Ahtna Construction Primary Products Corporation (AC&PPC) and Ahtna Engineering Services, LLC (AES) for some certain elements of the project. AC&PPC is performing the civil earthwork, excavation, and existing tank demolition for both project sites, while AES is providing the tank cleaning for the existing 250,000-gallon tanks at each site that will be demolished as part of these projects.

The field work commenced at Cape Newenham on June 15, 2018 and we anticipate completion of the entire scope of work by October 31, 2018. The Tatalina crew mobilized on July 12, 2018 and completed approximately 25% of the construction this summer with the remainder on schedule to be completed by October 31, 2019. The Air Force has indicated their sincere appreciation for the excellent teamwork and coordination demonstrated to-date, and they look forward to completion of this project and working with Ahtna on other upcoming projects.