The Ministry of Transportation expects to save $11 million by building new cable ferries for Harrop and Glade rather than bridges.
Kate Mukasa, a public affairs officer with the ministry, said in an email that the “lifecycle” cost of the new Glade ferry is estimated at $19.4 million over 40 years, whereas a bridge over the same time span is estimated to cost $23.5 million.
Over 40 years, the lifecycle cost of a new ferry for Harrop is estimated at $24.3 million versus $31.9 million for abridge.
Both the ferry and bridge estimates include initial one-time construction costs, along with operating, maintenance and rehabilitation.
“It’s important to provide a continuation of service, and renewing the ferry fleet is the most affordable, long-term solution,” Mukasa wrote. “The current ferries are at the end of their service lives now, and the first of their replacements will enter service in 2017 — years sooner than if a bridge were to be built.”
Last month the government announced it has awarded a $27.9-million contract to design and build four new ferries to Waterbridge Steel of Nakusp.
In addition to the new vessels for Harrop and Glade, the company will also build replacement ferries for ArrowPark and Adams Lake.
The new ferries will be larger and able to carry more vehicles than the existing ferries, with increased capacity to handle commercial vehicles at full highway loads.
The new Glade ferry will be able to hold nine vehicles, compared to the present eight, while the new Harrop ferry will be able to hold 24, compared to the present 18.
The Harrop ferry operates on demand round the clock while the Glade ferry takes a break between 2:20 and 5 a.m.