Ferry updates: Taku minimum bid lowered, Tustumena laid up and LeConte schedule change

JUNEAU, Alaska (KINY) - Is a million-and-a-half dollars too much to pay for an unwanted state ferryboat? Then i have a deal for you!

The Alaska Marine Highway System is lowering the minimum bid for the ferry Taku to 700-thousand dollars.

Bidding opened in March, and the deadline to submit sealed bids was Tuesday. Now the Department of Transportation is extending the deadline until the end of May.

D-O-T at first offered the vessel to other public entities, such as state agencies or local governments, but none expressed interest.

The 352-foot Taku, built in 1963, was taken out of service in 2015 as two new ferries, Tazlina and Hubbard, join the Marine Highway fleet.

Taku mainly sailed the Inside Passage between Skagway and British Columbia and is currently docked in Ketchikan.

Meanwhile, the Marine Highway is making alternate arrangements while the ferry Tustumena is laid up for repairs longer than expected.

Until the vessel returns to its route from Homer, Kodiak, and the Aleutians by mid-July, the ferry system will contract with Seattle-based Costal

Transportation to carry cargo.

However, passenger service is still cancelled.

Also LeConte sailing schedule for May 13 has a routing change (Tenakee and Angoon port call order reversed) and includes a delayed departure to accommodate a community event in Angoon.

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