Skagway dock floats again

The sunken ferry dock in Skagway has its head back above water.

Western Marine Construction Inc., a Juneau-based company, was contracted over the weekend to work on the dock’s infrastructure. The state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced the dock’s raising by Facebook on Tuesday afternoon.

But that doesn’t mean the Skagway Ferry Terminal is open. Inspections and repairs are under way, so the facility remains closed until further notice. All Alaska Marine Highway sailings to Skagway have been canceled through May 9 at the earliest.

The exact date ferry service will resume depends on the extent of repairs necessary, DOT spokesman Jeremy Woodrow said.

There have been a number of rumors surrounding what might have caused the dock to sink, but the department has not pinpointed a single cause, Woodrow said.

One theory is being carefully weighed — that a fresh water pipeline running through the structure was turned on without being checked for leaks.

“That’s one of the main possibilities, but we can’t confirm anything right now until we get inside and look at that,” Woodrow said.

Tim Fairbanks, a manager at the Fairway Market in Skagway, said the businesses in the town about 100 miles north of Juneau were largely unaffected by the sinking.

“It would have affected personal shoppers that go to Costco, but pretty much everyone else uses the barge and that’s a totally different terminal,” Fairbanks explained. “The only people I know of in Skagway affected would be people who were waiting on people to come on the ferries.”

Woodrow said additional updates will be posted to as they become available.

Matt Woolbright is a reporter for the Juneau Empire.