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IFA Traffic Up


August 01, 2003
Friday - 1:00 am

Traffic for the year to date aboard the M/V Prince of Wales is up 15% over the same period a year ago, according to Inter-Island Ferry Authority chair Dennis Watson of Craig. The IFA passenger/vehicle ferry M/V Prince of Wales provides year-round daily service between Ketchikan and Hollis, on Prince of Wales Island. Twice daily round-trips are offered during June, July and August. "Considering that in 2002, our first year of operation, we generated almost as much traffic as the Alaska Marine Highway System did with the M/V Aurora in 1992, which was their top year, we are very pleased with the way traffic is growing", said Watson. The Hollis-Ketchikan ferry route is now Alaska's busiest, according to IFA research.

MV Prince of Wales

MV Prince of Wales
File Photo by Dick Kauffman

The original concept for the IFA was that operational costs would be fully supported by the fare box. At a meeting earlier this week the IFA board approved their fiscal year 2003/04 budget, which reflects a $123,000 surplus after covering operating expenses and capital costs. "The key to cost control is that the M/V Prince of Wales is designed to effectively operate as a day boat with a crew of five", according to Watson. Food and beverage services aboard the vessel are operated as a concession by Craig's Dockside Café, the same people that introduced the pies that have long been a tradition at the Sitka airport restaurant. And yes, the same pies are available aboard the M/V Prince of Wales.

The IFA master plan includes improvements to the Hollis Terminal, which are now in the final design stage. This $1,000,000 project includes a new terminal building, maintenance facility, and reconfiguring the staging area to accommodate increased vehicle traffic. The new terminal will offer drive-up ticketing and expanded passenger facilities. Another phase of terminal improvements will include a lay-by berth for the second IFA ferry M/V Stikine.

Major upgrading of Prince of Wales Island roads is underway in coordination with the introduction of IFA services. Paving of the highway linking Klawock and Thorne Bay will be completed within a week. Paving of the newly constructed highway from Control Lake to the Coffman Cove turn-off will be completed this summer. Realignment and upgrading of the 21 miles of road between the turn-off and Coffman Cove is being readied for introduction of IFA ferry service between Coffman Cove, Wrangell and Petersburg in 2006. The IFA is currently securing funds for design modifications for the northern route vessel, the M/V Stikine.

The IFA was organized in 1997 by the Prince of Wales Island communities of Craig, Klawock, Thorne Bay and Coffman Cove in a coalition with Wrangell and Petersburg, to provide improved transportation to island communities in southern Southeast Alaska. Dennis Watson was named IFA board chair earlier this month. He has served as mayor of the City of Craig for 14 years, and with numerous professional organizations, boards and commissions supporting the economic well being of Southeast Alaska.



Source of News Release:

Inter-Island Ferry Authority
Web Site



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