The state ferry dock in Skagway remains underwater and is closed indefinitely. The dock was completely submerged by about 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
Alaska transportation department officials say oil booms were laid around the area to collect contamination.
Marine engineers have been onsite and are still assessing the damage. Agency spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says the dock is resting on the seafloor and is fully submerged at high tide and partially submerged during low tide.
Skagway resident Gary Heger was one of the first to see it early Thursday morning. He says the tugboat Anna T was tied up on the east side of the dock and the west side was underwater. When the tug untied from the dock, the rest of the dock sunk.
“Last night (Wednesday) about 5:30 they had a fork lift on the dock and everything was fine,” he says. “Nobody’s really sure what happened this morning, but it was a surprise.”
DOT engineers were surprised, too. Woodrow says the 160-foot by 120-foot dock is made of 24 individual concrete chambers.
“The words that the engineer used is he’s perplexed. We actually have inspected every one of those individual chambers in the last year and there was no indication of any wear,” Woodrow says.
No ferries were scheduled into Skagway on Thursday. The Alaska Marine Highway System has canceled all sailings for the next two weeks. Woodrow says if the dock can be salvaged, it will take some time before it will be ready to accept ferry traffic.
The Skagway ferry terminal dock is fully submerged, according to state transportation officials.
DOT spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says an engineer is on his way to Skagway to find out what happened. Apparently the dock started to sink overnight and by early this morning it was totally underwater. The 160 foot by 120 foot dock is about 12-feet deep. It is made of 24 individual concrete chambers.
“The words that the engineer used is he’s perplexed,” Woodrow says. “We actually have inspected everyone of those individual chambers in the last year and there was no indication of any wear.”
Woodrow says the cause of the collapse remains a mystery until an engineer gets on site and a diver gets an underwater look. No ferries are scheduled into Skagway today (Thursday), but the LeConte is to sail there tomorrow. Woodrow says marine highway officials are working out a plan.
This is a breaking story. Check back for details.
Note: Also previous reports indicated the dock had collapsed. That connotes structural failure and DOT’s Woodrow says the extent of the damage is still unknown.