Washington State DOT Ferries Division has came to a decision regarding replacing the aging ferries and solve the Port Townsend – Keystone issue. DOT has also added 3 new 144-car ferries to the plan as well.
The plan and time-line as it stands now will be 2 Island Home type ferries . These ferries will have the capacity to hold 64 vehicles and a capacity of 600-700 passengers. The time-line is the first vessel will be ready in April 2010 and Fall 2010. The 2008 Transportation Budget (ESHB 2878) provides $84.5 million to construct new vessels for the Port Townsend/Keystone route.
Meanwhile the 144-car ferry will be based off the popular Issaquah class boats. These 3 new vessel will mean the retirement of the 1947 60-car Rhododendron and the 1954 87-car Evergreen State. These boats will be in service Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012 respectively.
Funding for the 144-car ferries was originally approved by the Legislature in 2003, and $30.2 million has already been spent on design, engineering and procurement.
The currently projected design-build contract price is between $60 and $80 million for each ferry. The actual total contract price will depend on the contractor’s price proposal and the results of the price negotiations required by SHB 2378.
The 2008 supplemental budget provides funding for the purchase of up to three 144-car vessels. The total project cost is $283.2 million and the 2007-09 planned expenditure is $49.7 million.
And finally, Pierce County is allowing WSDOT the continued use of the Steilacoom II on the Port Townsend – Keystone route with a lease extension until August 2009.