State receives one bid to design, build fast ferry

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- The Alaska Marine Highway System has received just one bid for design and construction of a high-speed catamaran to serve as a day boat between Sitka and Juneau.

Nichol Brothers Boat Builders of Washington submitted the $35.99-million bid.

Marine Highway Operations Manager Norm Edwards said the company will not automatically be awarded the contract. A routine review will be conducted to verify that the company complied with the state's specifications. Edwards said he is not sure how long that review will take.

The ferry would be the first vehicle and passenger vessel of its type made in the United States.

The ferry is designed to travel at 32 knots, nearly twice as fast as the existing Alaska Marine Highway fleet.

The ferry would carry 250 passengers and the equivalent of 35 sports utility vehicles.

Federal funding would provide most of the money to build the vessel.

Ferry officials plan to base the vessel in Sitka beginning in 2003 and would travel round-trip to Juneau most days.

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