The floating dock in Skagway, the same one which serves as a loading ramp for ferry passengers, is now on the bottom of the sea floor today, officials with the Alaska Department of Transportation confirmed.
Information officer Jeremy Woodrow said the cause of the malfunction of the float is unknown at this time, but two state engineers are currently on their way to Skagway to meet a diver in an effort to identify the problem and establish a game plan for repairs.
He said ferry service to Skagway is currently not available.
“Ferry service will be affected through the weekend,” Woodrow said. “It’s closed until further notice. We do not have a temporary solution yet in place.”
Fortunately, he said, Skagway is a community connected by the road system. Residents looking to travel by ferry can still do so by traveling through Haines, 350 highway miles away.
The floating dock, which ADOTPF designed to move up and down with the tides, is unique, Woodrow said, in that it is a multipurpose facility used by the municipality of Skagway, as well as small barges and small cruise ships for docking purposes. The size of the float is 120 feet by 160 feet and is roughly 12 feet deep. It consists of 24 individual concrete chambers, which are each air tight with a hatch to allow annual inspections by state engineers.
“Every single chamber has been inspected in the last two years,” Woodrow said.
There were no signs of leaks or problems, he said, during the past few inspections.
On the ADOTPF Facebook page, the department noted booms have been “deployed as a precaution in case any contaminants were released into the water as a result of this incident.”
Woodrow said affected ferry passengers should contact their closest port for more information, or go online to ferryalaska.com.
• This is a developing story, check back for more information.