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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.

• This is a developing story, check back for more information.

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. Shannara
2301
Points
. Shannara 04/25/14 - 10:05 am
4
5
Well ... we would need a

Well ... we would need a decent healthcare system in order to spend on healthcare .... may want to provide a better example ...

Elva Bontrager
248
Points
Elva Bontrager 04/25/14 - 12:34 pm
4
1
I am not in favor of a (hard) road, but...

As far as I'm concerned, we DO have a road and it would be my preference to keep the one we have.
However, when I look forward, say, 50 years, I have to assume that somewhere along the way a surface road WAS built. Therefore, our main concern should be how and when and how to do it most efficiently. I would like to see the road built with European-style tunnels wherever avalanche chutes are evident. I see no sense in building something that one knows in advance that the wintertime road will have to be closed repeatedly, not to mention that with the first snowslide that claims a life, the road will be closed indefinitely. In addition, instead of a vehicle road, I would prefer to build a railroad complete with passenger cars and flat cars that piggybacked our vehicles. (Incidentally, to say the road should have been built back when it would have been much cheaper, that really doesn't wash. Our inflation rate has been low the last few decades, so the cost back then would have been in proportion to wages and income just as today's cost would be.)

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