State ferry to run between Metlakatla in 2003

Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2001

KETCHIKAN (AP) -- A new state ferry is scheduled to make daily trips between Metlakatla and here in 2003, the Alaska Marine Highway System said.

The 18-vehicle ferry is scheduled to travel between Port Chester to the marine highway terminal in Ketchikan beginning sometime in the Spring or Winter.

''And at that point people can live in Metlakatla and commute to work in Ketchikan if that's what they want to do,'' said Capt. George Capacci, general manager of the Alaska Marine Highway System.

Eventually, the ferry is expected to travel between Walden Point to the northern edge of Annette Island and Saxman, Capacci said.

The 149-passenger ferry will maintain its home port in Metlakatla and the marine highway has already hired 11 residents to be part of its crew.

A state ferry already makes several stops in Metlakatla weekly, but in the winter the city is visited only once a week by the ferry LeConte.

Metlakatla Mayor Sol Atkinson said the route promises to provide greater access to Ketchikan businesses, its hospital and the University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan.

''During the winter months, we are isolated, especially on days like this when the air taxis can't fly,'' Atkinson said Monday.

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