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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 10, 2020
Press Release: 20-0055
Contact: Sam Dapcevich, sam.dapcevich@alaska.gov, (907) 465-4503

DOT&PF Seeks Public Review of 2020 Winter Ferry Operating Plan
Comments may be submitted through August 14, 2020

(JUNEAU, Alaska) — The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) proposed Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) operating plan for October 2020 through April 2021 is now available for public review.  

AMHS revenues are significantly lower than expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, it has become necessary to build the operating plan with minimal essential service to most communities. Some service gaps will still exist from vessel overhauls and layups as a result of available funding. 

Communities and interested people can review and submit comments on the proposed operating plan through August 14, 2020. There will not be a public teleconference during the comment period. Written comments are being accepted through August 14, 2020, via email at dot.amhs.comments@alaska.gov and by fax at (907) 228-6873.  

The draft operating plan is based on expected funding levels for fiscal year 2021. The plan is designed to meet community service needs while staying within available funding levels and maintaining regulatory and safety standards for the vessels. 

Here is a summary of ports of call and a timeline for October 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021: 

  • Kennicott to cover Bellingham/Cross-Gulf, Prince William Sound, Homer, and Kodiak through January 6, 2021, resuming service March 18, 2021 
    • Ports of call include Bellingham, Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Juneau, Whittier, Cordova, Homer, and Kodiak on a two-week cycle  
    • Note: Wrangell and Petersburg will be covered intermittently as tides permit  
  • Matanuska to cover Bellingham, Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Juneau, Haines, Skagway, Sitka, and Kake beginning February 10, 2021 

  • Lituya to cover Ketchikan and Annette Bay except during her two-week overhaul from January 10 – January 26, 2021 

  • LeConte to cover Juneau, Haines, Skagway, Hoonah, Gustavus, Angoon, Pelican, Tenakee, Sitka (intermittently), and Kake (intermittently) until overhaul starts February 15, 2021, resuming service April 12, 2021 

  • Aurora to cover Prince William Sound beginning April 15, 2021. (The steel work that is needed to repair the M/V Aurora is currently underway. The original plan was to have the work completed and the vessel available to operate in October 2020. However, due to the discovery of additional steel that needs to be replaced, repairs are now projected to be completed by December 2020. Following the steel repairs, the vessel will need to complete her annual overhaul and COI recertification. DOT&PF/AMHS plan to have the vessel operational by April 2021.) 

  • Tustumena to cover Homer, Kodiak Island, and the Aleutian Chain beginning April 15, 2021 

  • No service to Prince Rupert (on hold indefinitely), Chenega Bay, Tatitlek, Valdez, Seldovia, Ouzinkie, and Port Lions  

  • Service gap for Hoonah, Gustavus, Angoon, Pelican, and Tenakee during LeConte overhaul from February 15 through April 11, 2021  

  • Service gap for Prince William Sound, Homer, and Kodiak beginning January 7 through mid-March during the Kennicott overhaul  

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 237 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, more than 5,600 miles of highway and 776 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”

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