(JUNEAU, Alaska) –Skagway has seen a steady uptick in commercial and recreational marine vessel traffic and is taking the first steps to upgrade its dock facilities. The Borough of Skagway has entered into an agreement with the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) to plan to replace aging marine facilities with a modern, dual-use dock and related infrastructure.
The existing infrastructure is aging and in need of maintenance or replacement. Additionally, the existing marine infrastructure does not support increased growth. Skagway’s economy is closely linked to its port and this agreement will allow local business the flexibility to grow and adapt into the future.
As envisioned, the new dock would include a dedicated berth designed for Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) ferries, a segregated dockside sufficient to satisfy the functional needs of AMHS and its customers, an additional berth for commercial cruise ships, and segregated entrances and exits for both cruise and AMHS passengers, as well as an AMHS vehicle loading area.
The partnership between Skagway and DOT&PF has a long history, starting in the late 1970s when the two governments entered into a 1978 agreement to remove the old dock and replace the existing floating dock and supporting infrastructure. An agreement is needed because the marine terminal is considered a highway right of way and, per federal rules, can only be transferred for transportation purposes.
“It’s so important that we work with our local community partners and find ways to improve our infrastructure that benefits local governments, the State of Alaska, and the public. This agreement represents a great step forward and DOT&PF is committed to being a good partner in these efforts,” said Alaska DOT&PF Commissioner Ryan Anderson.
“This MOU represents an exciting state/local-public/private opportunity for investment in transportation infrastructure with the needs of the AMHS at its core,” said Skagway Mayor Andrew Cremata. “This is the culmination of more than two years of constructive dialog with DOT and the AMHS. I would like to personally thank the many people that helped make this happen, including Commissioner Anderson, John MacKinnon, Rob Carpenter, Rick Welsh, Mary Siroky, and Governor Mike Dunleavy's Chief of Staff, Randy Ruaro. I also want to thank Governor Dunleavy for this exciting opportunity. Skagway’s work begins today and we are ready.”
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 237 airports, 9 ferries serving 33 communities along 3,500 marine miles, over 5,600 miles of highway and 839 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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