Alaska Marine Highway

The LeConte state ferry departs Juneau on Tuesday afternoon, bound for Haines on a special round-trip following two cancelled sailings due to a mechanical problem. (Laurie Craig / Juneau Empire)

LeConte returns to service with special trip to Haines after weekend cancellation

State ferry will pick up half of nearly 60 stranded vehicles, others may have to wait until July.

 

The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry Columbia is seen in drydock on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022 in Ketchikan. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Opinion: Overhauling the federal Jones Act would benefit Alaska, including the Marine Highway System

Antiquated or obsolete laws can be amusing; I recently learned that an obscure medieval law provides the right to drive sheep across London Bridge. Fortunately,… Continue reading

 

The LeConte state ferry in 2023. (Lex Treinen / Chilkat Valley News)

Stranded Beerfest travelers scramble to rebook after LeConte ferry breakdown

Loss of 225-passenger ferry leaves many Juneau-bound revelers looking for other ways home.

 

The Columbia state ferry sails through Lynn Canal on Monday, April 29, 2019. (Alex McCarthy / Juneau Empire file photo)

Columbia ferry out of service until end of the year

51-year-old ship has been out of service since November; corrosion in fire system cited for delay.

The Columbia state ferry sails through Lynn Canal on Monday, April 29, 2019. (Alex McCarthy / Juneau Empire file photo)
(Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities photo)

Opinion: The Alaska Marine Highway System’s battered reputation

“Before you can make a decision, you need information” Craig Tornga said while avoiding speculation about the future of the MV Matanuska. It’s been out… Continue reading

(Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities photo)
The Matanuska state ferry, seen here docked when it was scheduled to begin its annual winter overhaul in October of 2022, has been out of service ever since. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities photo)

State awaits report, cost estimate on repairing Matanuska state ferry — and if it’s worth the effort

Full-body scan of vessel, out of service for 18 months, will determine if ship should be scrapped.

The Matanuska state ferry, seen here docked when it was scheduled to begin its annual winter overhaul in October of 2022, has been out of service ever since. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities photo)
The Hubbard, the newest vessel in the Alaska Marine Highway System fleet, docks at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal on April 18. It is generally scheduled to provide dayboat service between Juneau, Haines and Skagway. (Photo by Laurie Craig)

Ongoing Alaska Marine Highway woes are such that marketing to Lower 48 tourists is being scaled back

“We just disappoint people right now,” AMHS’ marine director says during online public forum Monday.

The Hubbard, the newest vessel in the Alaska Marine Highway System fleet, docks at the Auke Bay Ferry Terminal on April 18. It is generally scheduled to provide dayboat service between Juneau, Haines and Skagway. (Photo by Laurie Craig)
The Tazlina is docked at the Auke Bay ferry terminal in this November 2021 photo. Both the vessel and terminal are scheduled to get upgrades from federal grants that will be matched with “toll funds” from ferry revenues. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire file photo)

Use of state ferry revenues as ‘toll credits’ to secure federal grants for major projects gets OK

Federal government approval will ensure funds for Tustumena replacement vessel, other upgrades.

The Tazlina is docked at the Auke Bay ferry terminal in this November 2021 photo. Both the vessel and terminal are scheduled to get upgrades from federal grants that will be matched with “toll funds” from ferry revenues. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire file photo)
An employee works on the deck of an Alaska Marine Highway System vessel in a photo used by AMHS on social media to advertise jobs openings during the summer of 2023. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities photo)

Crew shortages continue to limit AMHS operations, likely to keep Kennicott idle again this summer

Situation improved from a year ago, but wheelhouse employees and engineers still a crucial need.

An employee works on the deck of an Alaska Marine Highway System vessel in a photo used by AMHS on social media to advertise jobs openings during the summer of 2023. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities photo)
A blueprint shows plans for a geotechnical exploration/bathymetry survey scheduled at Cascade Point this summer for a proposed ferry terminal. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)

Cascade Point ferry terminal may be ready by ’25, but AMH board members skeptical about its usefulness

“The compelling reason for this is still escaping me,” one member says during project update Tuesday

A blueprint shows plans for a geotechnical exploration/bathymetry survey scheduled at Cascade Point this summer for a proposed ferry terminal. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
A view of Gastineau Channel, where a second crossing between Juneau and Douglas north of the current bridge is in the evaluation stage. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)

Second Juneau-Douglas crossing to cost about $400M, be completed by 2030, in revised state transportation plan

Update also envisions Cascade ferry terminal by ‘25, safety fixes at Fred Meyer intersection by ‘26.

A view of Gastineau Channel, where a second crossing between Juneau and Douglas north of the current bridge is in the evaluation stage. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)
Andy Mills (left), legislative liaison for the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, and Commissioner Ryan Anderson testify before the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday about an executive order that would give the governor full control of the Alaska Marine Highway System’s operations board. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Andy Mills (left), legislative liaison for the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, and Commissioner Ryan Anderson testify before the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday about an executive order that would give the governor full control of the Alaska Marine Highway System’s operations board. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Traffic at the Fred Meyer intersection, formally known as Egan and Yandukin drives, in November 2019. Proposed safety upgrades at the intersection may be impacted by the federal government’s rejection of the State Transportation Improvement Program for 2024-27. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Traffic at the Fred Meyer intersection, formally known as Egan and Yandukin drives, in November 2019. Proposed safety upgrades at the intersection may be impacted by the federal government’s rejection of the State Transportation Improvement Program for 2024-27. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
A view from an Alaska Marine Highway System ferry. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities photo)

State ferry system in third year of crew shortages

Kennicott will spend another summer in dock unless more people hired soon, AMHS director says.

A view from an Alaska Marine Highway System ferry. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities photo)
Cars drive aboard the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry Hubbard on June 25, 2023, in Haines. (Photo by James Brooks)

Proposal to put slot machines aboard Alaska ferries gets rough first reception

A Republican legislator from Wasilla has proposed legalizing some types of gambling aboard Alaska Marine Highway System ships as a way to raise operating revenue… Continue reading

Cars drive aboard the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry Hubbard on June 25, 2023, in Haines. (Photo by James Brooks)
An Alaska Marine Highway System vessel at sea. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities photo)

Dunleavy gains control to pick all nine members of state ferry board July 1 under executive order

Order ends all existing terms that day; takes away legislative leaders’ appointing of four seats.

An Alaska Marine Highway System vessel at sea. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities photo)
A chart shows the proposed plans for each of the Alaska Marine Highway System’s nine ferries next summer under a schedule open for public comment until Dec. 19. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)

Proposed ferry schedule for next summer looks a lot like this year’s — with one possible big exception

Cross-Gulf sailings will resume if enough crew hired; AMHS begins two-week public comment period.

A chart shows the proposed plans for each of the Alaska Marine Highway System’s nine ferries next summer under a schedule open for public comment until Dec. 19. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
The Hubbard state ferry (left), the newest vessel in the Alaska Marine Highway System fleet, is back in service in northern Southeast Alaska after a maintenance period as the LeConte, which also serves the region, undergoes a scheduled annual overhaul until March 3. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Marine Highway System)

AMHS leaders hopeful staffing, sailings are trending up

More employees at key positions hired, restoration of cross-Gulf sailings next summer envisioned.

The Hubbard state ferry (left), the newest vessel in the Alaska Marine Highway System fleet, is back in service in northern Southeast Alaska after a maintenance period as the LeConte, which also serves the region, undergoes a scheduled annual overhaul until March 3. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Marine Highway System)
The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry LeConte at the Auke Bay Terminal on Monday, March 5, 2018. (Juneau Empire file photo)

Petition seeks name change for LeConte state ferry

Petersburg man calling attention to what he calls Joseph LeConte’s racist history.

The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry LeConte at the Auke Bay Terminal on Monday, March 5, 2018. (Juneau Empire file photo)
The Tustumena ferry is seen July 20, 2021, in southwest Alaska. (Photo by James Brooks)

Current issues dominate ferry system open house for long-term planning

Mainliner specs go to shipbuilders in November while the fate of Matanuska remains unknown.

The Tustumena ferry is seen July 20, 2021, in southwest Alaska. (Photo by James Brooks)