Wrangell Sentinel -

By Dan Rudy 

Ferry schedule changes proposed, some boats docked


Five of Alaska Marine Highway System’s 11 ferries will be laid up at some point next year under a draft vessel deployment plan released on June 24.

The Taku will be held in layup status the whole year, while the Kennicott will be from October until entering overhaul in early January. The Fairweather and Chenega will enter federal projects in October and mid-September, respectively, and will both be laid up starting in May 2016. The Malaspina is also scheduled to enter layup status in late May of next year.

Under the draft schedule, from October to mid-February 2016, Wrangell will be serviced by the Matanuska and Malaspina. The former will sail from Prince Rupert, British Columbia, to Juneau, making stops each week on Monday morning, Tuesday evening, Friday morning, and early Saturday morning. Taking over the Bellingham to Skagway route from the Columbia, the Malaspina will arrive Wednesday mornings and Sunday afternoons.

From mid-February to March, the Kennicott will take the Matanuska’s place while it receives an overhaul. Service to Wrangell will continue at the same times. The Matanuska will then resume service from late March through April.

Other Southeast communities will see reduced to no ferry service at some point in the winter. Service to Angoon, Tenakee, Metlakatla, Gustavus and Pelican will be cut from mid-January to mid-February. Sitka, Hoonah and Skagway will receive only two ferry visits a week during that time.

The schedule patterns being proposed are based on funding levels approved by the legislature for Fiscal Year 2016. The plan has been designed to meet the needs for community service, where funding will allow and while maintaining regulatory and safety standards.

The proposed schedule plan and an explanation from the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities can be found online at http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/share/schedule/considerations.pdf.

Comments on the proposed schedule are being accepted through July 20. Information can be emailed to ADOT at dot.amhs.comments@alaska.gov, or faxed in to 586-8365.

A teleconference to hear comments and consider adjustments for Southeast schedules is set for July 22 at 10 a.m. Participants need to call 1-800-315-6338, conference code 03902#. The meeting will be held at the AMHS Ketchikan office at 7559 North Tongass Highway.


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