Front Street clock to be refurbished

Downtown Juneau’s iconic Front Street clock was taken down Tuesday. If everything goes to plan, it’ll be back in May.


It may look a bit different when it’s reinstalled, however: the clock will lose the moss, algae and condensation around its face and will likely trade in its dark-green color in favor of a fresh coat of black paint, to match new light poles downtown.

New lighting and mechanical parts will also be added during a refurbishing process.

It was time, City and Borough of Juneau project manager Lori Sowa said. The clock hasn’t been taken down and worked on since it was installed some 35 years ago.

“The idea is to have it last another 35 years,” Sowa said.

Sowa watched as crew from Anchor Electric worked to detach the clock from the street Tuesday morning to prepare it for transport to Anchor’s Lemon Creek shop.

Removing and transporting the clock wasn’t an easy job, Anchor owner Bill Shattenberg said. It’s a fragile, expensive and top-heavy 3,000 pounds, so removing and handling the unnamed clock required careful planning.

Shattenberg decided to surround the heavy cube structure atop the narrow clock pole with a wood cradle, through which were threaded long bolts with eyes on the top.

Those were attached to a boom truck, which hoisted the clock onto a truck bed. After some nervous wrangling of the airborn icon, Shattenberg was relieved to finally have the clock laid flat on his truck bed, ready for transport to Anchor’s Lemon Creek shop.

Not much about the clock will be changed, Shattenberg said, except the new lighting, moisture control and paint job. Shattenberg also expects to have to replace some motors and restore the clock’s hands, the pair of which cost about $1,000.

A heating system and some kind of air circulation may be installed to reduce problems with moisture, but otherwise, Anchor will simply replace worn parts and clean the clock up.

“We’re not really materially changing anything,” Shattenberg said. “We’ll do a really good job cleaning it up and controlling moisture.”

But installing new lighting and dealing with moisture inside the clock might be a bit trickier. Anchor Electric will have help from engineering consultants Haight and Associates for the project.

The clock had to be removed to allow construction for phase two of the multi-year revitalization project on downtown streets. New paving, sidewalks, garbage cans and lighting are all planned on Franklin, Front and South Seward streets as well as a few adjoining streets.

South Franklin Street work, or phase one, was completed last year. Phase two will be completed by Oct. 31, but work will be halted during the bulk of the summer tourism season. Phase three hasn’t yet been funded but is slated for a 2019 completion. That phase consists of work to Shattuck Way, South Seward Street and Ferry Way.

The allowance for a break during tourism season was a function of the contract for phase two, Sowa said. Construction and tourism seasons overlap substantially, and any construction downtown is likely to have an effect on heavy foot traffic from cruise ship passengers. The phase two contract — a $1,736,902.50 project awarded to CBC Construction, Inc. — was designed to take place in spring and fall periods to help avoid construction during the tourism season.

Construction crews will work on Front Street during the spring portion, which is scheduled to be completed by May 15. Light poles and garbage cans might still be installed from a period of May 15-June 1, but roads and sidewalks will be paved by then.

The fall period of construction, which deals with North Franklin Street, could start as soon as Aug. 15, when contractors are allowed back on site. That portion is expected to wrap up Oct. 31.

• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 or Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.


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