WSF is moving forward to build new ferries to replace the 1954-era Evegreen State, which is the oldest of the Evergreen State Class of vessels. Nine of WSF’s 23 auto-passenger ferries are between 40 and 65 years old and must be replaced in the next 20 years. Construction works on first ferry began early this year while the works on the second 144-car vessel are scheduled for late 2012.
The new 144-car vessel design will be based on the Issaquah class, which has proved the most versatile vessel in our fleet and has the most utility throughout the system. Building new ferries will improve the safety and efficiency of WSF’s fleet and will allow us to put a ferry on standby so that we can maintain service in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Benefits from the new ferries will cascade throughout the system as older vessels are replaced. Building new ferries provides the opportunity to:
- Increase passenger comfort with better heating and ventilation, more internal seating and flexible seating configurations.
- Nominally increase capacity at minimal additional cost. This allows us to prepare for future population growth or increased peak period ridership during the 60-year expected life span of the ferry.
- Improve vessel design with room for a few more cars and trucks, and wider lanes for more efficient loading and improved passenger access to vehicles
- Improve safety with new emergency evacuation systems, advanced fire suppression, and two elevators for better accessibility.
- Improved ADA access with two compliant ADA elevators, and wider stair towers with a more gradual slope.
- Minimize environmental impact with cleaner burning engines, low-emissions fuels, reduced risk of fuel spills, a hull design that reduces wake and quieter machinery.
- Reduce operating costs with better fuel efficiency.
Project signage will reflect the cost of construction engineering, project bid award and sales tax.
WSF has a total budget of $279.4 million to build two 144-car ferries. The cost of constructing the first 144-car ferry is $115 million and the total cost of the vessel is $146.9 million. The total contract for construction of the second ferry is $109.4 million and the total cost of the vessel is $132.5 million. The difference between cost of construction and total cost for each vessel is due to the following: design, owner-furnished equipment, construction management, final outfitting, and contingencies. The lessons learned from construction of the first ferry, minimal engineering design, reduction in contingencies, and economies of scale reduce the cost of the second vessel.
Shipbuilding Tribune Staff, July 20, 2012; Image: wsdot