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Robert Vuille | Temsco Helicopter Lead Mechanic
The floating dock in Skagway, which serves ferry walk-on and vehicular traffic, as well as other needs, is pictured on Thursday partially submerged in the ocean. Officials do not know what caused the float to sink, but are currently looking into the situation. At this time, ferry service to Skagway is cancelled until further notice.

Skagway floating dock sinks

Posted: April 24, 2014 - 11:39am  |  Updated: April 25, 2014 - 12:11am
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This photo released by The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) shows the Alaska DOT&PF Alaska Marine Highway System floating dock submerged in Skagway, Alaska, on Thursday, April 24, 2014. The floating dock used by the state ferry system in Skagway sank overnight. The Alaska Marine Highway Service says in a Thursday release that the Skagway Ferry Terminal will be closed until further notice since the dock used by state ferries is inoperable. (AP Photo/Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
This photo released by The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) shows the Alaska DOT&PF Alaska Marine Highway System floating dock submerged in Skagway, Alaska, on Thursday, April 24, 2014. The floating dock used by the state ferry system in Skagway sank overnight. The Alaska Marine Highway Service says in a Thursday release that the Skagway Ferry Terminal will be closed until further notice since the dock used by state ferries is inoperable. (AP Photo/Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)

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.

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Kevin Nye
26
Points
Kevin Nye 04/25/14 - 07:15 am
8
10
Hamstrung

Now the people of Skagway are hamstrung by the fact there is no road all the way back and forth to Juneau. Unless of course they want to drive 350 miles to catch the ferry in Haines which is only 17 miles away as the crow flies-or is it 13 miles-I can't remember which. I wonder if there were any people from Skagway down in Juneau shopping at Costco who are now stuck here with their vehicle full of goods? But, they are Alaskans. They will probably suck it up, take the ferry to Haines and then drive that 350 mile loop up to Whitehorse and back down to their home in Skagway. From now on, they should probably just forget Juneau altogether and do all of their shopping up in Canada...

The Government will take no second thoughts about putting a road STRAIGHT THROUGH SOMEONE'S HOUSE ON PRIVATE PROPERTY via "eminent domain", but God forbid that a road be put through a section of wilderness all the way to Skagway.

Now, as an aside, concerning "evil roads", Alaska Legend John Schnabel of Haines had wanted to build a road from Haines from roughly where the Chilkoot River dumps into Lutak Inlet over to Dyea which connects to Skagway, but that has been nixed by the environmentalists also. Sigh...

These two roads should have been built a LONG time ago to interconnect our Southeast Alaska communities as best as is possible, but, the C.A.V.E. People (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) have successfully put a stop to these projects. Had enough of it all? Get involved and vote for economic progress...

Elva Bontrager
292
Points
Elva Bontrager 04/25/14 - 07:40 am
8
5
Dang those Mountains!

Keeping in mind that no current proposal includes a "road all the way to Skagway", even if we had the road that IS proposed we still couldn't currently dock.

Karl Ashenbrenner
2871
Points
Karl Ashenbrenner 04/25/14 - 08:07 am
8
4
Really Kevin

I wonder how much that section of road would have cost and how much the tunnel afterwords to connect to Skagway?

Kevin Nye
26
Points
Kevin Nye 04/25/14 - 08:15 am
7
6
The Point Is...

The point is, Karl, is that this should have all been done long long long ago when it would have been way cheaper and the kinks would have been worked out. But, Obstructionists like you have been in the way all along, and so,, here we are, hamstrung again. A combination of roads and ferries should be maximized to help with our uniqueness here in SE Alaska.

And yes, Elva, there is no current plan to go all the way to Skagtown. That plan was nixed long ago. A road to Skagway and one from there to Haines would have been helpful.

But relax, I am only pointing out facts. The Road will never be built in our lifetimes, if ever...

Haily George
1231
Points
Haily George 04/25/14 - 09:53 am
7
3
Lets see.....Skagway needs 2 docks

Lets see.....Skagway needs 2 docks. There, problem solved.

Some people will spend our public $$$ on roads we don't need
and say no to spending $$$ on things we do need, like healthcare.

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