WSF cancels ferry sailings this week and next for repairs

Washington State Ferries will cancel several late-night sailings to make repairs at the Fauntleroy dock beginning this week.

WSF spokesperson Hadley Rodero said the problem is with the articulating apron. The bridge and transfer span were installed in 2002, and the hinges are bent and worn out. She added that several parts are broken, and the apron is in danger of failing or causing damage when vessels land. Similar repair work will take place at Vashon’s slip 2 later this summer, she added, but that work will not affect operations because Vashon has two slips.

Crews will complete the Fauntleroy repairs this Wednesday and Thursday, June 12 and 13. Repairs will also take place Wednesday and Thursday, June 19 and 20. The repairs will require the cancellation of the following late-night sailings:

· Fauntleroy to Vashon and Southworth: 11:45 p.m., 1 a.m. and 2:20 a.m.

· Vashon to Fauntleroy: 10:50 p.m., 12:10 a.m. and 1:25 a.m.

· Southworth to Fauntleroy: 11:10 p.m., 12:30 a.m. and 1:45 a.m.

Service will continue between Vashon and Southworth as scheduled.

On Monday, Rodero and Vashon Island Fire & Rescue (VIFR) Chief Charlie Krimmert said work was in progress to determine how emergency medical transports will be dealt with while the Fauntleroy dock is closed. Typically when ferries are not running in the night, Krimmert said WSF can request a vessel to transport a patient. This situation is different, he said, noting there will be four nights with seven-hour windows when the Fauntleroy dock is closed. Also, he said, crews need to be able to return to the island in a timely way to be able to respond to other calls.

“This is always the part everyone overlooks,” he added.

Ferry staff members were working on a plan to add emergency sailings on affected nights between Vashon and Southworth, Rodero said. Those sailings would provide VIFR crews greater access to and from St. Anthony’s Hospital in Gig Harbor and Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton. She said she did not yet know if any waiting vehicles would be allowed on those sailings with ambulances. Also, WSF staff were considering extending sailing hours between Tahlequah and Point Defiance, she said, but doing so was less likely as that would require crew overtime, which is expensive. She noted that the repairs might take less time than forecasted, but that they are needed.

“We know it’s an inconvenience, but this type of maintenance is required once in a while,” she said.

Construction work is also expected next month at the Vashon dock to replace a broken piling. About a half a day will be needed to drive a new pile through the deck, but the remainder of the work will take place beneath the structure. That work will likely happen close to July 15, when the “fish window” opens, Rodero said; WSF is not allowed to conduct in-water work between Feb. 15 and July 15 to protect juvenile migrating salmon.

— Susan Riemer

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