Construction of the state’s second Kwa-di Tabil Class (64-car) ferry officially got underway April 19 at Todd Pacific Shipyards (Todd) in Seattle. Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Secretary Paula Hammond and Assistant Secretary for Washington State Ferries (WSF) David Moseley were on hand to help Todd officials commemorate the event. Secretary Hammond struck the first arc weld on the keel signifying the start of construction of the second vessel of the class.
“These new ferries represent progress toward a more reliable ferry system, which is critical for the economic prosperity of ferry communities,” said Paula Hammond, Washington Transportation Secretary. “With the Chetzemoka now in Everett for final outfitting, we are celebrating the start of a second new ferry – with a third new vessel soon to follow. This is the kind of service delivery the public expects from a well-run ferry system.”
The first Kwa-di Tabil Class Ferry, Chetzemoka, was towed to Todd’s subcontractor, Everett Shipyard, earlier this month for final outfitting, system testing and sea trials. The Chetzemoka is scheduled to go into service on the Port Townsend/Keystone route late summer after several weeks of WSF sea trials and crew training.
In October 2009 WSDOT awarded a $114m contract to Todd to build two more 64-car ferries, in addition to the Chetzemoka. Todd is working with over 30 significant subcontractors and creating or preserving some 360 jobs for highly skilled workers. The contract contains an option to build a fourth vessel, which WSDOT must exercise by May 31, 2011. The fourth vessel would be either a 64-car ferry or 144-car ferry depending on the availability of funds.
The Washington State Transportation Commission is accepting name proposals for the second vessel until the end of this month. The second new vessel will join the Chetzemoka on the Port Townsend/Keystone route in 2011, restoring two auto ferry service to the route. Todd is also preparing for construction of the third vessel, which will replace the 1947-built Rhododendron on the Point Defiance/Tahlequah route in 2012.