JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska transportation department has released a draft winter ferry operating plan with long service gaps for some coastal communities and others won’t have any service during the season.
The state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities said the expected gaps and stoppages stem from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Alaska Marine Highway System revenue, KTUU-TV reported Monday.
The communities of Hoonah, Gustavus, Angoon, Pelican and Tenakee will not have ferry service from Feb. 15 through April 11 because of the mechanical overhaul of the ferry M/V LeConte.
There will also be a service gap for Prince William Sound, Homer and Kodiak from Jan. 7 through mid-March as the ferry M/V Kennicott is overhauled.
The communities of Chenega Bay, Tatitlek, Valdez, Seldovia, Ouzinkie and Port Lions will not have ferry service from Oct. 1 until April 30, the department said.
Service to Prince Rupert has been put on hold indefinitely, the department said.
“It has become necessary to build the operating plan with minimal essential service to most communities,” the transportation department said in a statement. “Some service gaps will still exist from vessel overhauls and layups as a result of available funding.”
The draft winter operating plan is available for public comment through Aug. 14, the department said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
This version corrects that the name of the transportation department is the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, not the Alaska Department of Transportation.