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Major construction projects set to take place at Santa Cruz, Anacapa Islands

Two major construction projects at popular destinations in the Channel Islands National Park are slated to begin this fall.

The first is an installation of a new crane at Anacapa Island, replacing the existing crane. The crane replacement begins in October and is expected to be completed in April 2020. The island will be closed for day and overnight use for three weeks in October and for at least one week in November, December and March.

The new crane will restore essential park operations and will improve visitor and emergency services on the island, according to the National Parks Service. The two-crane design will improve the safety of loading operations and restore the island crane back to its original design from 1932. The current single crane is currently non-operational, having failed due to prolonged exposure to the extreme island conditions.

The second is a replacement of the Scorpion Anchorage pier at Santa Cruz Island. That project will begin in November and will take six to eight months to complete. During the pier replacement project, access to Scorpion Valley will be closed to the public.

The new pier will improve safety and efficiency of loading and offloading park visitors and cargo. The pier will be located about 300 feet south of the existing pier and will be larger, allowing more reliability in low tide conditions.

Both projects are expected to be major improvements to visitor access, park operations and safety, according to the National Parks Service.

“The new Scorpion Anchorage pier and Anacapa Island crane will be major improvements to the visitor experience and to critical park infrastructure on the islands,” said Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Ethan McKinley in a press release. “We apologize for the temporary lack of access for both park visitors and partners and look forward to much improved access due to these major infrastructure projects in the near future.”

Island Packers, which provides exclusive charters to the islands, will provide alternate destinations for visitors including daily trips to Prisoners Harbor on Santa Cruz Island, weekend winter trips to Santa Rosa Island and special day trips to “lesser known island destinations.” They will also offer extended wildlife cruises with visits to Painted Cave, as well as multi-island day trips.

Santa Barbara Adventure Company which offers guided kayak tours and snorkel rental services at Scorpion Anchorage on Santa Cruz Island, will temporarily downsize and relocate their operations to Prisoners Harbor during the pier construction.

The Scorpion Anchorage pier project was awarded to John S. Meek Company Inc. The construction cost is estimated at $15 million and is funded by the Federal Lands Highway Alternative Transportation Program and the State of California Department of Transportation Ferry Boat Grant Program.

The new crane at Anacapa Island is estimated to cost around $5 million. JMG Constructors LLC, was awarded the contract for that project, which will be paid for by National Park Service construction funds.

The timeline for all construction and repair projects are subject to weather changes and other project considerations.

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