Highway with ferries serves public safety

Posted: Monday, July 09, 2007

Stephanie's June 28, 2007 My Turn opinion piece about the need for emergency access from Haines to Juneau missed an important element of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities' proposed Lynn Canal Highway with Katzehin shuttle ferries.

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As explained in the final environmental impact statement for the project, Glacier Highway would be extended to Katz Point directly across Chilkoot Inlet from Haines. A ferry terminal would be built at this location, but the Leconte class shuttle ferry servicing Haines would be stationed at Lutak Terminal, not the Katzehin terminal.

When the new highway is closed for snow or avalanche control, the Haines-based ferry would operate in Lynn Canal rather than to the Katzehin terminal.

Currently there is not a ferry in Lynn Canal every day. With the planned improvement, there will be a ferry based in Haines that could perform the same service that Scott described, on any day the highway is closed. During normal highway operation this ferry would make eight runs per day to Katzehin in summer and six in winter. Shuttle ferries will be operated by the Alaska Marine Highway System, and would provide improved service in Lynn Canal even when the highway is temporarily unavailable.

Malcolm A. Menzies

Southeast regional director,

Department of Transportation

and Public Facilities


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