The ferry terminal in the southeast Alaska community of Gustavus suffered minor damage to its vehicle transfer ramp after a weekend winter storm.
State transportation department spokesman Jeremy Woodrow said Saturday’s storm had higher-than-usual tide and sustained winds, resulting in damage preliminarily estimated at about $20,000, the Juneau Empire reported.
He said ferry service – a vital link for the community near Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve – was not affected. He told The Associated Press Thursday the damage was discovered Sunday morning and two maintenance workers made interim fixes to the ramp. He said an engineer flew to Gustavus Monday and deemed the temporary fixes safe. He did not know when the permanent fixes might be done.
Woodrow said the design of the dock took into account historical weather data but the storm exceeded those numbers. He said local residents observed 12-foot waves, roughly twice the 6-foot to 7-foot waves engineers predicted as a worst-case scenario when designing the terminal. The dock had been completed in 2010.
National Weather Service meteorologist Aaron Jacobs said winds at Bartlett Cove, just west of Gustavus, were “very impressive,” gusting to about 49 mph and up to 47 mph at the airport. Cape Spencer, about 50 miles southwest of Gustavus, had 104 mph gusts.
A new winter storm was expected to drop up to 11 inches of snow by Thursday evening in the areas around Juneau and Gustavus.
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