By Melinda Munson
Skagway will partner with the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT) to possibly build an Alaska Marine Highway System ferry facility at Ore Penninsula, relocating from its current aging dock at Ferry Peninsula.
The agreement includes preliminary design, feasibility analysis and engineering.
“This is the start of the process,” said Mayor Andrew Cremata. “If it’s something the community supports, we can pursue that option.”
The DOT and municipality will each pay half the cost of the 20% design for the project. If the proposal comes to fruition, the town would increase its waterfront by 40%.
“The result of this project would be complete and total access to the Broadway Peninsula,” Cremata said.
The municipality would lease the Ore ferry facility to the state, freeing up space on Ferry Peninsula for possible cruise ship dockings.
“It’s great as we don’t know the future of the Railroad Dock,” Cremata said, referencing recent landslides that shut down the dock’s forward berth and required the aft position to tender its passengers to the Small Boat Harbor.
Cremata gave the ferry project a five to 10-year timeline. “This will not happen in my term as mayor,” he said.
“Pursuing port improvements for Alaska’s coastal communities is critically important to ANHS’ long-term success,” said Commissioner Ryan Anderson. “This project moves us closer to the goal that our vessels can be used interchangeably throughout our AMS network.”
DOT described the proposed Ore facility as, “Closely aligned with DOT’s Charting the Course Initiative, which supports the long-term health of Alaska coastal communities as part of the AMHS recovery plan.” Visit https://publicinput.com/H3867 for more information.
According to DOT’s press release, “The new facility would include an AMHS ferry berth, terminal building, vehicle staging area, parking and associated facilities and related improvements.”
The announcement comes as plans to replace the Ore Dock near 60% completion.
Skagwegians who heard the news questioned how the high winds would affect docking, where parking would fit and cited noise pollution from TEMSCO.
“My only thought is it’s going to get awfully crowded over there,” said resident Debbie Ackerman.