Keel Laid for Washington's New Ferry Suquamish
Construction officially begins on state’s newest ferry, Suquamish
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.
The Suquamish’s keel laying ceremony comes only weeks after significant progress was made on the third Olympic Class vessel, Chimacum. Last month, the Chimacum’s superstructure was joined to its hull in drydock at Vigor. Construction on the Chimacum is now about 75 percent complete.
“The simultaneous construction of two vessels is exciting,” said Matt Von Ruden, director of vessels for Washington State Ferries. “We hope to continue investing in long-term ferry build programs to keep up with our increasing ridership and replace our aging fleet.”
The 144-car Suquamish is the fourth Olympic Class vessel and has not been assigned to a route yet. The first Olympic class vessel, Tokitae, joined the Mukilteo/Clinton route in June 2014. The second, Samish, was put into service on the Anacortes/San Juans Island route in June 2015. Chimacum, will replace one of the older vessels on the Seattle/Bremerton route in 2017.