Washougal dock damaged by 2020 storm set to reopen this summer

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City of Washougal leaders have agreed to a contract with a Vancouver-based construction company, which will repair the Steamboat Landing dock in the spring of 2022. The dock has been closed since December 2020 after sustaining damage during a storm. (Doug Flanagan/Post-Record)

After being closed for more than a year, the Steamboat Landing dock in Washougal will reopen this summer.

The Washougal City Council approved a $137,668 contract with Vancouver-based Northbank Civil and Marine Inc., on April 11, to repair the damaged dock.

“We’re all excited that we’re finally getting this project back going again and getting (Steamboat Landing) back for our community,” council member David Stuebe said.

City officials closed the dock in December 2020 after discovering that it was damaged in several places and determined that it could pose a safety issue if left open.

“A walkthrough of the dock by the public works staff identified that the eastern docks section, from the observation decks side, (had) separated from the section parallel to the river,” city engineer Rob Charles said during the meeting. “At the same time, it was noted that some of the aluminum rail section bolts had come loose from the dock, allowing adjacent sections of railing to bang into each other, causing damage to those sections of aluminum rail. The dock has since been closed so that we could find out the cause of the separation and get it repaired.”

“Working with the original contractor and design engineer to determine the problem and solution has been challenging,” he said. “We were hoping to have the dock open much sooner than mid- July, which is the scheduled completion date for our contractor.”

Northbank Civil and Marine will install bumpers or rollers on the two triple-pile sections; repair damage to the handrails; reinstall bolts to reattach handrails to the dock; and realign the eastern dock sections.

Charles said a large storm caused the damage.

“It appears that the eastern dock section was under duress during (the storm),” Charles told the Post-Record. “The eastern dock section actually separated from the dock section which parallels the river. Installation of bumpers or rollers on the triple-pile sections to limit the dock movement around the piles should alleviate this problem.”

Councilmember Ernie Suggs summarized his enthusiasm for the project in a succinct manner.

“Let’s get it done,” Suggs said.

Stuebe, however, believes city leaders should look into the cause of the issue so the dock won’t have similar problems in the future.

“I would like to have an executive council, not on awarding this contract, but (to discuss) what our ‘miss’ was and how we got into this situation in the first place,” he said. “We need to make sure we don’t get into this situation again and close it down. It’s too great a facility (to close), especially when we have the cruise liner coming by and more tourists using that. We just want to make sure it’s safe, just like it was, and make sure it’s a beautiful feature for Washougal.”