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Award recognizes cost savings in ferry-construction program

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Date:  Monday, July 09, 2012

Contact: Marta Coursey, WSF director of communications, 206-515-3918 (Seattle)

SEATTLE – Delivering value for transportation dollars was among attributes cited in a national award presented today to the Washington State Department of Transportation for building three new ferries under budget.

WSDOT won the regional “Under Budget, Large Project” category and was recognized for building three, 64-car, 750-passenger vessels on time and at a savings to taxpayers. WSDOT is now entered into a competition for one of two national awards that carry $10,000 in prizes. This is the fifth time WSDOT has won an award in the America’s Transportation Awards competition sponsored by the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials.

Four years ago, Washington State Ferries began work to restore service to more than 660,000 customers annually who rely on the State Route 20 marine highway between Port Townsend and Coupeville. Ferries on that route had been removed from service for safety reasons.

WSF delivered three new ferries as a design-bid-build project in 42 months – exceptionally quick by shipbuilding industry standards – and nearly $7 million under budget. The Chetzemoka, Salish and Kennewick were constructed, and two of them now sail between Port Townsend and Coupeville.

WSF used an existing vessel design that met the operating requirements of the route, shortening the preliminary engineering timeline from nearly 15 months to six months. Work was divided among four state shipyards to further expedite ferry construction and assembly. This sustained jobs for the shipbuilding industry in Washington and helped shore up local economies.

“We’ve proven beyond a shadow of doubt that we can build vessels in the state of Washington on time and under budget,” said state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. “Winning this award honors the hard work we do every day, and we’re proud to receive it.”

To learn more about AASHTO’s America’s Transportation Awards competition, visit

For information about WSF’s newest vessel-construction program, visit

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