New Keller Ferry Closer to Reality

press release
Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Foss Maritime Co. of Seattle is the apparent low bidder to build a new 20-car Keller Ferry to serve Washington’s only ferry route east of the Cascade Mountains.


The Keller ferry crosses Lake Roosevelt (part of the Columbia River) between the towns of Wilbur, Wash., and Keller, Wash., and provides essential transportation to several northeastern Washington counties, including Lincoln, Ferry and Stevens. “We’ve worked long and hard to replace this ferry,” said state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond after three bids were opened today. “I’m happy we’re one step closer to providing safe and reliable service, and I’m also pleased the bidding came in under the estimated price.”


Foss Maritime was the apparent low bidder at $9,557,178. This is nearly $250,000 under the state’s estimate of $9,803,475. Funding for the new ferry comes from federal appropriations, as well as $2 million from the Colville Confederated Tribes and $361,000 in state funds. “We’re especially pleased to have a funding partnership with the Colville Confederated Tribes,” said Keith Metcalf, eastern region administrator with the Washington State Department of Transportation. “Without their financial support, this new vessel would not have been possible.”


The Keller Ferry crossing, on State Route 21, is a critical link in the region’s transportation system. It serves a variety of users, including residents and visitors of the Colville Indian Reservation, the local school district, emergency services, recreational users, and haulers of freight and goods. The new Keller Ferry will replace the 12-car Martha S., which has been serving the route since 1948. The Martha S. is at the end of its 60-year design life and its capacity limit of 40 tons is inadequate for current transportation needs at this site.


Besides Foss Maritime, other bidders were Oregon Iron Works Inc. and US Fab LLC, a subsidiary of Vigor Industrial LLC. WSDOT will evaluate the bids and expects to award the contract next week. For more information, visit the Keller Ferry Replacement project page.

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