Travellers crossing Upper Arrow Lake are one step closer to having a new ferry, following the launch of the hull for a new vessel in Nakusp on Sunday.
The launch represents a significant milestone in the project. The Ministry of Transportation says construction of the vessel is on time and on budget. It is scheduled to be put into service between Galena Bay and Shelter Bay in May 2014.
“This is an important milestone for the new Upper Arrow Lake ferry,” Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone stated in a press release issued Tuesday afternoon. “Aside from providing safe and reliable transportation to travelers in the area, this project is providing good jobs for skilled trades people right here in British Columbia.”
With the hull now in the water, WaterBridge Steel in Nakusp will build the superstructure and install the vessel’s equipment and systems. The ferry is expected to be ready for speed and endurance trials and manoeuvring tests by February, 2014.
“WaterBridge is proud of the fact that the new Upper Arrow Lake ferry will incorporate the most efficient, state-of-the-art engines and propulsion equipment,” said WaterBridge Steel president and CEO John Harding. “We are, however, most proud of the abilities demonstrated by our supervisors and crews who have been drawn from across B.C. to the community of Nakusp to successfully construct the largest inland ferry ever built in BC.”
The final step will be Transport Canada certification next spring.
Aside from improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, the new Upper Arrow Lake ferry incorporates enhanced maintenance technology that will result in a high level of reliability. The vessel is designed to enable underwater visual inspections, eliminating the requirement to lift the vessel out of the water every five years for an inspection. The vessel’s equipment and systems will be fully serviced from the car deck or inside the vessel.
The new drive-on, drive-off ferry will replace two 40-year-old vessels and with a capacity to transport 80 vehicles and 250 passengers. The vessel will have wider lanes and improved ramp transitions for faster loading and unloading. The sailing time is 20 minutes.
For a video of the launch of the new inland ferry’s hull click here.
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Upper Arrow Lake ferry
Contract value: $26.5 million
Design-builder: John Harding, WaterBridge Steel Inc. of Prince George Jobs created: Up to 80 jobs Ferry usage: 225,003 vehicles and 292,892 passengers were ferried between Galena Bay and Shelter Bay in 2012.
Nominal Capacity: 80 vehicles, 250 passengers
Speed: 10 to 11 knots
Dimensions: 97.5 metres length, 19.5 metres breadth, 5.5 metres depth