Gov. Bill Walker says he’ll continue pushing for construction of a new ferry terminal in Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
His administration cancelled project bidding Jan. 21 due to a dispute over construction materials.
Federal funds covering most of the project require U.S. steel to be used. Canadian officials won’t let that happen.
At a recent press conference, Walker said he expected to find a way around the conflict.
“It’s an important part of what we do as far as our Alaska Marine Highway System. So, we’ll continue to have that discussion and I’m sure we’ll come to some sort of understanding so the project can move forward,” Walker said.
Prince Rupert is about 100 miles southeast of Ketchikan. It’s the only ferry port on the mainland road system in the thousand miles between Skagway and Bellingham, Washington.
State Transportation Department officials say the current dock and ramp will last no more than five years.
The terminal had to close for repairs when it was deemed unsafe in 2008. But that was only a temporary fix.
Since then, there state has negotiated a $3.3-million, 50-year lease for the terminal, which is part of Prince Rupert’s port.
Transportation Department spokesman Jeremy Woodrow said that’s a long-enough commitment to justify reconstruction.
“Usually when we build facilities, bridges, roads they have a finite life. And 50 years is a pretty good estimate for a lifespan of a terminal,” Woodrow said.
Bidding documents listed the cost at $10 million to $20 million.
Woodrow says if the project proceeds, it’s expected to take one or two construction seasons to build.