Ketchikan yard apparent low bidder for Columbia work

Posted: Tuesday, October 31, 2000

KETCHIKAN (AP) -- Alaska Ship and Drydock here is the apparent low bidder for $10.5 million worth of renovations and repairs on the Alaska state ferry Columbia this winter.

The work will include replacement of staterooms and fixing the ship's electrical system, which failed in June.

The Columbia's electrical board must be redesigned as a result of a June 6 switchboard fire in Chatham Strait, southwest of Juneau.

About 500 passengers and crew members were evacuated safely, and the 418-foot mainline ferry was towed to Auke Bay and then to Ketchikan.

Doug Ward, a spokesman for the shipyard, said being named the apparent low bidder is good news, but it wasn't a guarantee the yard will get the work.

There's a 10-day protest period for competing bidders, said Capt. George Capacci, general manager of the Alaska Marine Highway System. The successful bidder will receive a letter of award from the state at the end of that time.

''In all likelihood, the award will go to Alaska Ship and Drydock,'' Capacci told the Ketchikan Daily News. ''It's good news for Ketchikan and it's a pretty impressive project.''

Monday's bid opening came at the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities' Southeast Region contracting office.

Alaska Ship and Drydock's apparent low bid was about $10.5 million. Cascade General of Portland, Ore., bid $10.67 million and Todd Shipyard in Seattle bid about $11.3 million, Capacci said.

Work on the Columbia is to be finished by May 26, which would make it ready for the start of the busy summer season.

The Columbia was built in 1974 at a cost of $22 million.

The Ketchikan yard now employs about 90 people. ''If we are awarded the Columbia contract, we'll ramp up to 140- to 160 workers,'' the shipyard's Ward said.

The Ketchikan company recently was awarded the contract to perform safety and maintenance work on the Alaska ferry Matanuska.

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