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New ferries: on time, under budget; DOT garners national recognition

The Sealth, foreground, one of the older boats in the Washington State Ferries fleet, glides into Friday Harbor. The state Department of Transportation earned national recognition for construction of its new ferry boats.  - Journal file photol
The Sealth, foreground, one of the older boats in the Washington State Ferries fleet, glides into Friday Harbor. The state Department of Transportation earned national recognition for construction of its new ferry boats.
— image credit: Journal file photol

The Washington State Department of Transportation won national recognition for building three ferries - the Chetzemoka, Salish and Kennewick - in 42 months and nearly $7 million under budget.

Two of the 64-car, 750-passenger ferries are now in service between Port Townsend and Coupeville, the routes they were designed for.

The award is the regional stage of the America’s Transportation Awards and makes DOT eligible for one of two national awards, which each carry a $10,000 prize. The competition is sponsored by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials.

Washington state has won five prior awards.To save time and money, the DOT used an existing vessel design and divided construction work among four Washington shipyards. The department recently entered into a contract with Vigor Industrial for four 144-car ferries. One is now under construction and one will begin construction late this year.

 

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