Washington State Department Of Transportation News

05 Jan 2018

Washington State Christens New Ferry Suquamish

Washington State’s new ferry Squamish was christened at Vigor's Harbor Island Shipyard in Seattle, on January 4. (Photo: WSDOT)

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) christened Suquamish, its fourth Olympic Class auto/passenger ferry, to serve passengers on the Mukilteo/Clinton route beginning in 2019. The christening ceremony was held at Vigor's Harbor Island Shipyard in Seattle, where the new 144-car ferry has entered the final stages of construction and preparation ahead of sea trials starting in mid-2018. In addition to summer operations on the Mukilteo/Clinton route, the new ferry will also serve as a maintenance relief vessel in the winter, filling in when other vessels are out of service.

24 Mar 2017

WSF’s M/V Kaleetan on Board with Sherwin-Williams

(Photo: Sherwin-Williams)

A total of 5,300 gallons of Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine Coatings ensures that one of Washington’s most valuable assets will provide service for years to come. With a longstanding history of ferry operation in the Puget Sound, Washington State Ferries (WSF) was in need of a coatings company with just as strong of a reputation when preserving the 3,634-ton M/V Kaleetan auto/passenger ferry in the summer of 2015. Built in 1967 in San Diego, Calif., the M/V Kaleetan – which means “arrow” in Chinook – first went into service in early 1968 and was rebuilt in 2005.

05 Dec 2016

WSF Leader to Retire

Lynne Griffith joined the Washington State Department of Transportation as assistant secretary for the ferries division in September 2014. Today, she announced that she will retire from public service at the end of January. Ferries division Chief of Staff Elizabeth Kosa, who has served alongside Griffith, will act as Washington State Ferries’ leader while the department finalizes its next steps. During Griffith’s time at the helm of the nation’s largest ferry system, missed sailings due to lack of crew dropped nearly 70 percent over the previous 26-month period. She also secured funding for a forth 144 car Olympic Class ferry, the Suquamish, and built a new high-performing management team from the ground up.

14 Sep 2016

WSDOT Christens New Ferry Chimacum

WSF’s third Olympic Class vessel, M/V Chimacum, will will replace an older vessel on the Seattle/Bremerton route in 2017. (Photo: WSDOT)

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) christened Chimacum, the third Olympic Class vessel to join the Washington State Ferries (WSF) fleet. The ceremony took place at Vigor's Harbor Island Shipyard in Seattle, and marked the vessel’s final stage of construction and its preparation for sea trials. In a traditional maritime ceremony, Washington State Ferries Assistant Secretary Lynne Griffith broke a bottle of champagne to officially welcome the new ferry to the fleet. Gov.

11 May 2016

Keel Laid for Washington's New Ferry Suquamish

Suquamish Keel Laying Photo WSDOT

The Washington State Department of Transportation continues to grow its Olympic Class ferry fleet with a keel laying ceremony marking the beginning of construction of its newest vessel, Suquamish. On Tuesday, May 10, Gov. Jay Inslee, state Sen. Christine Rolfes, and Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman struck ceremonial welds on the keel of the Suquamish, at Vigor’s Harbor Island Shipyard in Seattle. Inslee welded his granddaughter’s initials, Rolfes, an orca whale, and Forsman, a circle with a dot, the ancient design element found at “Old Man House” in the early Suquamish winter village.

13 Jul 2015

Seattle, Tacoma Ports Welcome State Transport Investment

Photo: Port of Tacoma

Washington State Legislature’s passed a $16.2 billion transportation investment package that ports of Tacoma and Seattle say will benefit the state’s economy by speeding the movement of cargo through the ports and freight corridors. The ports, business and community leaders have been advocating for funding to complete the key freight routes of State Route 509 in King County and State Route 167 in Pierce County, which are supported in the package. “The transportation system outside our terminal gates is critical to maintaining our competitive edge…

06 Apr 2015

SR 410 White River Bridge in Enumclaw Closed

White River Bridge damaged beam

The Washington State Department of Transportation has temporarily closed the State Route 410 White River Bridge after crews discovered damage to the bridge’s overhead support structure during a routine inspection early Saturday morning. The SR 410 White River Bridge has an arched steel overhead support structure, which is signed for 15 feet. The bridge strike occurred in the westbound lanes of the bridge. Low clearance warning signs are posted along the shoulder approaching the bridge.

28 Aug 2014

Federal Officials Approve Plans to Replace Mukilteo Terminal

Existing Mukilteo Ferry Terminal (Photo courtesy of Washington State Dept of Transportation)

The 60-year-old Mukilteo Ferry Terminal is one step closer to replacement. On Friday, Aug. 22 the Federal Transit Administration signed a record of decision allowing the Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division to design and construct a new ferry terminal in Mukilteo, Wash. The Mukilteo terminal is one of the state’s busiest terminals, serving nearly 4 million passengers last year. However, the terminal is vulnerable to earthquakes and in need of major repairs to continue safe, reliable ferry service between Mukilteo and Clinton.

04 May 2014

WSDOT Applies For Six TIGER Grants To Improve Statewide Mobility

WSDOT

Washington’s citizens could see mobility improvements in highways, ferries and freight rail if the state’s three capital grant applications are selected to receive a portion of the $600 million available nationwide in federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant funds. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) also submitted three applications this week for planning proposals that support economic development, environmental resiliency and integrated transportation choices.

16 Apr 2014

4th cycle of SR 520 pontoons completed in Aberdeen

SR 520 Bridge Replacement

Another six State Route 520 bridge pontoons began floating out of the Aberdeen casting basin late Tuesday night, April 15, marking completion of the fourth of six cycles of pontoons being built in Grays Harbor. “With the fourth cycle complete, we’ve reached another important milestone for a new SR 520 floating bridge,” said Julie Meredith, SR 520 program director for the Washington State Department of Transportation. “We’re now two-thirds of the way done with all pontoon construction.

21 Mar 2014

Capacci Named Washington Ferries Chief

State Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson today named Capt. George A. Capacci interim assistant secretary in charge of the Ferries Division for the Washington State Department of Transportation. Capacci will lead the ferry system until a permanent assistant secretary is selected. WSDOT will conduct a nationwide search to find the best replacement for outgoing Assistant Secretary David Moseley who resigned effective April 15. Capacci joined Washington State Ferries in 2009 as regional port captain and was promoted to deputy chief of operations and construction for ferries in 2010. In his current position, he is responsible for overseeing ferry operations, vessel maintenance and preservation and terminal engineering.

19 Mar 2014

Peterson Comments on Moseley' Resignation

David Moseley

Washington Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson issued a statement regarding the resignation of Assistant Secretary for Washington State Ferries David Moseley. Peterson's comments are as follows. After six years of service, Assistant Secretary for Washington State Ferries David Moseley has announced his plans to resign on April 15. David can be proud of his distinguished service at WSF and the many accomplishments he has made while at the helm of the ferry system. I thank him for his contributions and leadership in a position that has tremendous challenges and issues.

31 Jan 2014

Washington Ferries Renamed After the Seahawks

Photo: Washington State Department of Transportation

Passengers traveling on the Washington State Ferries Sunday, Feb. 2, will be boarding the “M/V Russell Wilson” or crossing Puget Sound on the “M/V Richard Sherman” as Gov. Jay Inslee has directed the vessels be named in honor of the Seattle Seahawks. “We couldn’t be more proud of our Seahawks as they represent our state in the Super Bowl,” said Inslee. The team has counted on a strong running game to carve out a path to victory. Now fans will be able to ride the “M/V Marshawn Lynch” and go #Beastmode roundtrip from the Kitsap Peninsula.

22 Nov 2013

Washington State Ferries a Step Closer to LNG Propulsion

LNG Bunker tanks on upper deck: Rendering courtesy of WSF

Washington State Ferries say they are another step closer to significantly reducing fuel costs and transportation emissions by switching a class of vessels from diesel fuel to liquefied natural gas. After more than three years of study, WSF has a plan to safely convert six Issaquah Class vessels to run on cleaner-burning LNG. The proposal has been officially submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard in a formal letter of intent (LOI) and waterways suitability assessment (WSA). The submission of the LOI and WSA marks the official starting point of the Coast Guard’s review process.

19 Jul 2013

LNG Fueled Vessels

Dennis L. Bryant,  Maritime Regulatroy  Consulting, Gainsville, Fla.

Alternative to Diesel Strengthens as Barriers Continue to Fall. From the earliest days of mechanically propelled ships, fuel use has been evolving. Starting with wood, fuel changed to coal, which held sway for many years. Oil began to be used in the late nineteenth century and was clearly the dominate marine fuel of the twentieth century. Environmental shortcomings of fuel oil, particularly traditional heavy bunkers, were brought under increasing scrutiny as the twentieth century came to a close.

06 Jun 2013

Mukilteo Ferry Terminal: WSDOT Release Environmental Study

Mukilteo ferry terminal: Photo credit WSDOT

The 60-year old Mukilteo ferry terminal (about 25 miles north of Seattle) is one step closer to replacement with the release of a final environmental impact statement. “We’ve reached a major milestone,” said David Moseley, assistant secretary for the Washington State Department of Transportation, Ferries Division. The Mukilteo terminal is the state’s busiest terminal, serving nearly 4 million passengers last year. But it is vulnerable to earthquake and in need of major repairs to continue safe, reliable ferry service between Mukilteo and Clinton.

12 Mar 2013

Washington Governor Makes Weld on State’s Second Ferry

Photo: Vigor

Washington Governor Jay Inslee officially kicked off the construction of M/V Samish, the state’s newest 144-car ferry, by making the first weld on the vessel at Vigor Industrial’s Seattle shipyard Friday. Earlier in the week US Fab, the Vigor company building the ferries, hit a major project milestone on the first vessel, the M/V Tokitae, when the company successfully transferred the 1110-ton superstructure onto the hull. Joined by state transportation officials, community leaders…

12 Mar 2013

Human Error Found in Walla Walla Motor Failure

Photo: WSDOT

A three-month safety investigation recently concluded that human error was responsible for the failure of an electric drive motor that removed the 188-car ferry Walla Walla from service. According to the final report, investigators determined the motor failure was avoidable and resulted from mistakes made by Washington State Ferries personnel. The motor failure occurred Nov. 4, 2012 when the Walla Walla was undergoing routine annual maintenance at Eagle Harbor Maintenance Facility on Bainbridge Island. •    Communication between engine crew and maintenance staff was insufficient.

05 Feb 2013

Washington State Ferries Explores LNG as Fuel

Kenneth Vareide, Director of DNV’s maritime operations in North America

“WSF burns more than 17 million gallons of ultra-low sulfur diesel each year – and it’s our fastest growing operating expense. LNG has the potential to significantly reduce emissions and the cost of fuel,” said Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Assistant Secretary David Moseley. LNG as a fuel is a promising, but new technology. To ensure that the safety, security and operational challenges of such a move is handled in a responsible manner, Washington State Ferries has partnered with DNV…

02 Jan 2013

A Boon to Shipbuilding

Having detailed instructions for each shipbuilding task and precise sequencing of the workflow is creating efficiencies and reducing rework at shipyards on the east and west coasts of the US. The work packs that Senesco Marine’s tradesmen are working from provide instructions—including checks and balances and dimensions—for each step of the process. “The person cutting the angles to go on panels has a cut sheet with instructions on how to cut every angle,” explains Joe Bush, VP Operations at Senseco Marine in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.

11 Dec 2012

WSF Soon Back to Normal Service

Ferry 'Tacoma': Photo credit WSF

Washington State Ferry (WSF) service disruptions should diminish soon, as three ferries return to service from shipyard. The expected return to service of three ferry vessels over the next two weeks will help alleviate temporary service disruptions occurring now on two major ferry routes. The 202-car Tacoma, in for routine maintenance, is expected to return to service Friday evening, Dec. 14. That will be followed Monday, Dec. 17, by the return of the 90-car Sealth, now awaiting dry dock availability for weld repairs.

04 Dec 2012

WSF Add Number of Hands

WSF 'Super Class' Ferry: Image credit WSF

New US Coast Guard regulations require Washington State Ferries to increase crew on Puget Sound routes. The Jumbo, Super, Issaquah and Evergreen State ferry classes – which carry many of the system’s 22 million annual riders – have new staffing requirements before they may sail on the waters of Puget Sound, in order to comply with a new directive from the United States Coast Guard. Washington State Ferries has already added two crewmembers to the Issaquah ferry and will implement the new staffing levels for the others once the USCG issues the revised certificate of inspection for each vessel.

12 Nov 2012

Engine Damage Knocks Ferry Out of Service

Propulsion Machinery Damage 'Walla Walla': Photo credit WSDOT

Washington State Ferry 'Walla Walla' suffers part engine meltdown in shiprepair yard putting it out of service indefinitely. A failure in one of the drive motors on the 188-car ferry, Walla Walla, has left parts of the ferry near the engine melted and charred, and the vessel is inoperable and out of service indefinitely. The incident happened while the vessel was in for routine, regularly scheduled maintenance work on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012; work which included inspection of electrical drive motors, overhauling the boiler and pre-checks for U.S. Coast Guard annual inspections.

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