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Ferries - Olympic Class (144-Car) Ferries


July 2015

  • The Washington State Legislature approved funding for a fourth Olympic Class ferry.
  • The state's newest ferry, Samish, officially joined the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route on June 14, 2015. 
  • View photos of the Samish Open House and Christening event held on May 20, 2015.
  • The Washington State Transportation Commission selects Chimacum as the name for our newest state ferry.
  • View a time-lapse video of the Tokitae under construction.

WSF has a contract with Vigor Industrial's US Fab Division for design and construction of three 144-car ferries. The first ferry, Tokitae, was completed in March 2014 and pressed into service on the Mukilteo/Clinton route in June 2014. The second, Samish, was completed in April 2015 and joins the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route in June 2015. Construction of the Chimacum began in fall 2014. We expect the Chimacum to be complete in 2017.

Why is WSDOT building new Olympic class 144-car ferries?
WSF is building three new ferries to replace the 1950s-era Evergreen State Class ferries, which are approaching the end of their service lives. Ten of WSF’s 22 auto-passenger ferries are between 40 and 60 years old and must be replaced in the next 20 years. The new 144-car vessel design is based on the Issaquah class, which has proved the most versatile vessel in our fleet and has the most utility throughout the system.

The End Result
Building new ferries will improve the safety and efficiency of WSF’s fleet and will allow us to put a ferry on standby so that we can maintain service in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Project Benefits
Benefits from the new ferries will cascade throughout the system as older vessels are replaced. Building new ferries provides the opportunity to:

  • Increase passenger comfort with better heating and ventilation, more internal seating and flexible seating configurations.
  • Nominally increase capacity at minimal additional cost. This allows us to prepare for future population growth or increased peak period ridership during the 60-year expected life span of the ferries.
  • Improve vessel design with room for a few more cars and trucks, and wider lanes for more efficient loading and improved passenger access to vehicles.
  • Improve safety with new emergency evacuation systems, advanced fire suppression, and two elevators for better accessibility.
  • Improve ADA access with two compliant ADA elevators, and wider stair towers with a more gradual slope.
  • Minimize environmental impact with cleaner burning engines, low-emissions fuels, reduced risk of fuel spills, a hull design that reduces wake, and quieter machinery.
  • Reduce operating costs with better fuel efficiency.

What is the project timeline?

  • December 2007 – WSF awarded design-build contract.
  • December 2008 - Todd and Martinac submitted technical proposal to WSF.
  • January 2010 - WSF and Todd signed agreement to begin detailed design drawings. (This agreement is part of the December 2007 contract.)
  • Spring 2011 - Legislature funded construction of one 144-car ferry.
  • June 2011 - Detailed design for production drawings complete.
  • November 2011 - Price and schedule negotiations complete.
  • Early 2012 - Construction began on first ferry.
  • Spring 2012 - Legislature funded construction of a second 144-car ferry.
  • June 2012 - WSDOT named new 144-car ferry class: Olympic.
  • November 2012 - Washington State Transportation Commission named first two Olympic Class ferries Tokitae and Samish. Tokitae means "Nice day, pretty colors" in Coast Salish dialect. Samish is a tribal word meaning "giving people."
  • December 2012 - Construction began on second Olympic Class ferry, Samish.
  • March 29, 2012 - Keel laying/first weld for Tokitae.
  • March 8, 2013 - Keel laying/first weld for Samish.
  • Spring 2014 - Legislative session, authorizes funding for third Olympic Class ferry.
  • June 30, 2014 - Tokitae in service on the Mukilteo/Clinton route.
  • November 2014 - Washington State Transportation Commission selects Chimacum as the name of the third Olympic Class ferry.
  • December 9, 2014 - Keel laying/first weld for Chimacum
  • March 2015 - WSF takes delivery of Samish.
  • June 2015 - Samish in service on the Anacortes/San Juan Islands route.
  • Early 2017 - Chimacum scheduled for completion.

Financial Information

WSF has a total budget of $393.5 million to build three 144-car ferries.

Tokitae, the first 144-car ferry:
The total cost of the vessel is $144 million.

Samish, the second 144-car ferry:
The total cost of the vessel is approximately $126.45 million. 

Chimacum, the third 144-car ferry:
The total cost of the vessel is approximately $123 million.

The lessons learned from construction of the first ferry, minimal engineering design, reduction in contingencies, and economies of scale reduce the cost of the second vessel.

How can I get more information?
Hadley Rodero
WSF Communications

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