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Alaska considers adding additional terminal for new ferries

April 23rd, 2019

Alaska is considering adding another terminal to accommodate the short range of a new class of ferries, officials said.

The administration of Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy may propose a new Juneau terminal 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of an existing terminal for the new Alaska Class ferries, CoastAlaska reported Friday.

The terminal proposal is part of a plan to ensure day boats can connect Juneau with Haines and Skagway.

The Alaska Class ferry Tazlina is expected to embark upon its maiden voyage next month, but a March 26 Department of Transportation & Public Utilities memo made public Friday says the Tazlina will not be able to make its connections.

“There is insufficient time to conduct a round trip from Auke Bay to Haines and Skagway in less than 12 hours’ time,” wrote Kirk Miller, a transportation department engineer.

The $27 million measure would include a new seasonal terminal farther north at Cascade Point to keep short-run ferries viable.

“With the reduced travel time, there can be double the frequency of trips,” transportation department spokesperson Meadow Bailey wrote in a statement. “The project would result in a shorter ferry run, therefore reducing the cost of operating and reducing crew costs.”

Democratic state Rep. Sara Hannan, whose district includes Haines, Skagway and downtown Juneau, said she had not been briefed on the proposal.