PORT TOWNSEND – Ferry traffic backed up Monday onto Water Street, an unusual sight under normal circumstances.
But these are less than normal times for the aging Steel Electric-class vessels crossing between Port Townsend and Keystone on Whidbey Island.
The 80-year-old vessels have been showing signs of age and deterioration this year, their hulls at times showing cracks and pinhole leaks.
With Coast Guard officials concerned and wanting a closer look at the vessels’ hulls, the MV Nisqually was pulled out of service Monday morning, leaving the MV Klickitat the lone ferry serving the Port Townsend route.
That meant waits in ferry lines of at least 90 minutes.
“The noon and 1:30 sailings were sold out by 11:30 this morning,” said Hadley Green, Washington State Ferries communications manager.
“We would advise people to use the Kingston-Edmonds route if they can, to avoid the congestion,” Green said.
Those wanting to know how long the wait is for the Port Townsend-Keystone run can sign up online ferry traffic alerts from Washington State Ferries at https:/secure1.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/account.