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Russell Stigall / Juneau Empire

Pelican opens new ferry dock

LeConte makes first docking in six weeks

Posted: October 24, 2012 - 12:03am
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People on shore watch as a state ferry pulls up to the new dock in Pelican.  RUSSELL STIGALL
RUSSELL STIGALL
People on shore watch as a state ferry pulls up to the new dock in Pelican.

All 83 of Pelican’s residents can now come and go by way of ferry thanks to a brand new Alaska Marine Highway dock.

The 235-foot LeConte docked at Pelican’s new facility Tuesday, the first ferry to arrive since Sept. 5.

Greg and Donica Jerue run Jerue and Smith Transport. The service delivers goods from Juneau’s Auke Bay terminal to Pelican. Greg Jerue said the Tuesday’s ferry was the first time the transport service had been to Pelican since ferry service ceased in early September.

“People were getting pretty hungry,” Jerue said. “We’ve got some full trucks.”

The Pelican Ferry Terminal Dock serves the Lisianski Inlet waterway.

Pelican is located 70 miles west of Juneau on the northwest coast of Chichagof Island. A 2011 Department of Commerce and Economic Development report lists 83 residents in Pelican. The city received its first development in 1938, a cold fish storage plant. To this day it is “highly dependent” on commercial fishing, according to the report. Nearly half the city’s residents held commercial fishing permits in 2010.

Typically Pelican receives an Alaska Marine Highway System ferry twice monthly in the summer and once a month in the winter.

Originally constructed in 1975, the dock received “extensive modification” in 1980, according to a February 2011 State of Alaska capital project summary. The dock is located near the South end of Pelican boat harbor.

In its project summary the Department of Transportation noted deterioration of the low-tide ramp, unsafe bull rails and failed timber fenders as the main reasons for the $2.3 million upgrade.

The facility’s low-tide ramp was closed in 2005 for emergency repairs. Timber mats allow use of the ramp at a reduced load rating.

“The general condition of both tide ramps and dock is poor,” according to the 2011 DOT project summary.

The old dock and ramps were replaced by a 6,000 square foot platform dock and two tidal ramps. Construction used galvanized steel pilings, concrete deck panels, and steel framing. Pedestrian got steel tube railing.

Also included installation of six energy absorbing rubber fenders and improved lighting. Department of Transportation crews were driving the final pilings when the ferry arrived.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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