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Ferry Security Issues at the Multi-modal Dock

(Juneau, Alaska) –Gustavus will soon see increased ferry service, from one stop a week to three or four, if security and access issues can be resolved.

Gustavus city officials and the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) have been working together on portions of a new ordinance that will address use of the new multi-modal dock facility in Gustavus.  The focus has been on security and access at the facility. These new rules will require cooperation from local citizens that will in turn benefit the coastal community with increased service.

“A challenge for the ferry system,” says Deputy Commissioner Michael Neussl, “is that the new small boat harbor access is located right next to the vessel car deck ramp at the bottom of the transfer bridge.”  This necessitates small boat harbor pedestrian traffic and ferry traffic be separated while using the same bridge.  There is also the potential of vehicles being parked very near the dock face which creates a security and safety issue for docking the ferries. 

The new small boat harbor docks will be installed soon and the ferry service will increase to three and four visits per week in May.  “We are busy working with the city to complete what we hope will be a solution to the access issues,” said Neussl.

AMHS ferry operations must comply with U.S. Coast Guard security regulations and while AMHS has received a waiver that allows the state ferries to operate at the facility, its vessels must also comply with the security measures stipulated in the Coast Guard waiver.  Failure to comply with these security measures could lead to fines.  Neussl stressed, “It is so important to have local support to make it all happen and it sounds like, with the ongoing help from Gustavus leaders, it will all work out.” It may also mean a few minor changes to the facility, Neussl added.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) oversees 254 airports, 11 ferries serving 33 communities, 5,700 miles of highway and 660 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of ADOT&PF is to “Get Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”

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