The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced on Thursday the Aurora will be in layup early next year affecting about 24 employees who will be relieved from their duties. The Department announced in November the LeConte and Aurora would need extensive steel replacement and the Alaska Marine Highway System does not have the money to make repairs on both. The LeConte will be repaired first as the Aurora costs more and will take longer to repair. The LeConte is expected to be returned to service May 15. The Aurora however is being prepared for long term layup in Ketchikan and no return to service date has been specified. This brings 6 ferries of the 11 in total in the Alaska Highway System.