Large Vessel Port Expansion

This project constructs a new large vessel port on the north side of Homer’s existing Small Boat Harbor. A natural shelf and local source of rock makes construction of a port basin with 40-60 large vessel slips and secure homeport and layover accommodations for US Coast Guard assets feasible. Homer’s central, road-connected location, renowned marine tradesmen and ice free conditions make it an ideal location.

The Need

Homer’s large vessel fleet has grown by 42% in the last 15 years and the length and draw of vessels requesting moorage has doubled, filling the harbor beyond capacity. Many large vessels are turned away and travel to the Lower 48 to overwinter and complete maintenance. This comes with significant operating costs for Alaska’s marine industrial fleet and significant job and revenue losses for the region.

Due to shortage of moorage space and high demand, large vessels are rafted two and three abreast in Homer Harbor causing costly travel delays for the fleet and increased maintenance and repair costs for our systems working beyond capacity. Travel lanes are constricted and traffic congested which presents navigational hazards, especially when small private boats are sharing tight travel lanes.

Port expansion will meet market demands of the marine industrial transportation sector, address navigational hazards and capture economic opportunities currently being lost while simultaneously advancing Alaska’s (and the nation’s) competitive position. This project will positively impact the lives and livelihoods of countless Alaskans through job creation, economic development and benefit national security interests well into the future.

Homer Large Vessel Port Expansion Will:

Increase regional economic activity and support local jobs by an estimated $2.75 million annually;

Provide layover, provision, maintenance and over-winter options to marine industrial vessels to capture an estimated $3.5 million lost annually due to Alaska’s lack of moorage space;

Advance national security interests, Arctic exploration and emerging opportunities for natural resource development by accommodating layover needs of US Coast Guard ice breaker assets and moorage needs of the marine industrial sector;

Serve as a backup port for marine transportation & delivery critical for Alaska’s resilience and recovery in the event a major disaster disables or destroys the Port of Anchorage.

Due to high demand, large vessels are rafted two and three abreast in the harbor. Vessels seeking moorage are turned away causing economic opportunity losses.

Overcrowding is a navigational hazard, increases maintenance and repair costs through over stressing the floats and costs the marine industry in time delays.

So, When will this be done?

…Depends on when we get Federal Funding.

Based on the positive results, the USACE recommends advancing this project by completing a $3 million General Investigation feasibility study (GI), which is cost shared 50% Federal, 25% State, 25% City of Homer under a three-way partnership. The City has their share already set aside and ready to go.

  • The City seeks Federal support for including this GI new start project in the USACE workplan and approval of it as a budget item is needed to move forward with the GI.
  • Alaska’s US Senators Murkowski and Sullivan were successful in getting a major transportation infrastructure bill through the Senate and now it’s in the House of Representatives. There is a lot of opportunity in this bill for rural community ports and harbors.
  • The City also seeks State partnership which includes contributing 1/4 of the cost of the three-year GI study and providing expertise and input on design and construction.

Contact your Legislators today!