Ferry Facility Can Begin Construction

Image courtesy WETA Builders have been chosen to execute this plan for a new ferry maintenance facility.

The San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) announced two East Bay firms have been pegged to design and construct an operation and maintenance facility at Alameda Point. Overaa Construction of Richmond and Power Engineering Construction of Alameda will be tasked with building the Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility. 

The two firms were awarded a $54.7 million contract to construct the facility, the richest contract WETA has ever doled out since its inception in 2008. The new maintenance facility will also include an operations control center for service dispatch and an emergency operations center for emergency-response coordination.

It is uncertain at this time what role each construction agency will have in building the facility or when construction will begin. 

Overaa is a fourth-generation family business that was founded in 1907. It dates back to the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. Norwegian immigrant Carl Overaa founded the firm to help rebuild San Francisco after the temblor. Overaa has experience in designing and constructing parking structures, educational facilities, water infrastructures and other facilities. Some of its past projects includes work on the Calpine Recycled Water Facility and Pier 48 in San Francisco, according to the company’s website. The company is located on 200 Parr Boulevard in Richmond. 

Power Engineering Construction began operating in 1986. Its expertise is in designing and constructing civil and marine projects, including marine terminals. Power Engineering worked on the Phillip 66 Oil Facilities in Richmond. Work on the project included upgrading and replacing the existing timber fender system, seismic upgrade of the wharf structures in the Richmond Terminal and repairing the existing concrete wharfs and pipe ways, according to Power Engineering’s website. 

The project was spurred after a Marine Oil Terminal Engineering and Maintenance Standards performance audit. Power also worked on the Oyster Point Ferry Terminal in South San Francisco where they did steel piledriving, precasting and post-tensioning work on a concrete terrace and pier, fabrication and installation of structural steel canopy with tensioned fabric roof and assorted landside parking lot grading and improvements. Power is located at 1501 Viking St. Ste 200.

The Central Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility will be the maintenance base for WETA’s central San Francisco Bay Ferry fleet, which operates on the Alameda/Oakland, Alameda Harbor Bay and South San Francisco ferry routes, and will operate on the proposed Seaplane Lagoon Ferry Terminal when constructed. WETA’s new operation facility will be a key component to the success to the new terminal at Seaplane Lagoon as it will own and operate the waterside assets of the terminal. 

WETA announced last Friday that its board of directors approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at its April 7 board meeting (“Meetings Discuss Fate of Ferries this Week” April 7). The City Council unanimously approved the MOU at its city council on April 5. Councilmembers were enthusiastic about the possibilities an extra ferry terminal can have on decreasing the logjam of traffic leaving the island. However, several councilmembers rose questions as to how all the funding for the project will be obtained. 

City staff has estimated the terminal will cost $18.2 million to be constructed, with more than half of that subsidized by Alameda Point Partners — APP and the city will work together to build the terminal. Staff also believes it will cost $16 million to procure the vessels for the ferry line. 

Vice Mayor Frank Mattaresse rose the question as to how this $16 million figure will be financed at the meeting. Alameda Point Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Ott believed that acquisition of the boats would be WETA responsibility, but she was not totally sure. Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft temper expectations by alerting other members not to just assume and plan for WETA to foot the entire bill. Nonetheless, the council voted in favor of approving the MOU, the adoption of the addendum and the finalizing of the EIR report on the terminal 5-0.

On June 4, 2015 the WETA Board of Directors adopted a System Expansion Policy to serve as a framework for evaluating the feasibility of new ferry projects. The new ferry is to work as an expansion terminal to the existing Main Street terminal, which would remain open.