Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Two new 144-car ferries coming soon to a waterway near you!

Photo credit: WSDOT
Two new ferries will be added to Washington’s state ferry fleet thanks to funding provided by the Legislature this past session. Construction on the first 144-car ferry began this month and the second is scheduled to begin construction in December, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced yesterday.

The two new ferries will be replacing two vessels in the Evergreen State class. Originally built in 1954, Evergreen State ferries are some of the oldest ferries still in use today – and it’s high time for Washington to upgrade!

Did I mention the construction process will create about 500 family-wage jobs in Washington shipyards?

Some of the other project benefits include:
  • Increased passenger safety – better heating and ventilation; more seating
  • Improved vessel design – room for more cars/trucks; improved passenger access to vehicles
  • Improved ADA access – two compliant ADA elevators and wider stair towers with a more gradual slope
  • Minimized environmental impact – cleaner burning engines; low-emissions fuels; wake-reducing hull; and quieter machinery

With the largest ferry fleet in the United States, Washington State Ferries operates 23 vessels across the Puget Sound and its waterways. Carrying over 23 million passengers, the state ferry system acts as a marine highway for everyone from commercial users to daily commuters to tourists.

The first new ferry is expected to be in operation by early 2014 and the second by early 2015.

To read this post in Spanish, click here.