County promises Lighthouse Park dock for 2016

By Meg Olson

All the parties involved will share the blame and the cost of fixing the failed dock at Lighthouse Marine Park.

“The project team has been moving forward in a cooperative way to get it resolved rather than looking for who to blame so everyone has contributed something towards resolving the issue,” said Rod Lamb, design and development supervisor with Whatcom County Parks and Recreation.  “There’s some blame to be shared.”

The failure of the dock last summer after only a month in service and under moderate sea conditions could be in part traced to the design engineer retained by the county.

“The conditions exceeded the conditions in the design specifications,” Lamb said, which led to the crumpling of the frames that held the wave attenuation chambers. “Our redesign is to make them more robust for this very active tidal zone.” The design engineer will re-engineer the project at no cost.

Lamb said the manufacturer shared some responsibility for the fix, as “even if the design specification was never exceeded, the wave attenuation chambers would not have held because of the way the dock grounded.” The manufacturer will re-manufacture the base of the dock segments at cost.

The county will come up with the $27,000 for materials. “The county was involved in these decisions so we hold some responsibility,” Lamb said. “Hindsight is 20/20. If you look at the design now you can see it wasn’t adequate for the site.”

The contractor will also reinstall the re-manufactured and reconfigured wave attenuation chambers at no cost.

Lamb said the target date for getting the dock back in service is this June. He added they had also been working with operations staff to ensure equipment is on site to keep the ramp clear during the boating season.

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