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KETCHIKAN - The Inter-Island Ferry Authority plans to award a $16.9 million contract to Washington firm to build a new ferry for Coffman Cove, Wrangell and Petersburg.
The 198-foot ferry, to be called the Stikine, is scheduled to go into service in April 2006, according to the IFA.
Dakota Creek Industries of Anacortes, Wash., also built the IFA's first ferry, which began service between Ketchikan and Hollis in January 2002. The new ferry will be similar, but with several improvements, according to IFA Northern Route Project Manager Loren Gerhard.
"We went through the ship with a fine-tooth comb and had all kinds of people comment on improvements and possible changes," he said.
The Stikine will have a different passenger deck, more tables in the galley area, a more powerful bow thruster, a third generator and a larger wheelhouse with enclosed bridge wings.
With the changes, Gerhard said the IFA hopes to certify the new ship for 195 passengers. The Prince of Wales ferry can carry 160 passengers and 30 standard vehicles.
The IFA issued a request for proposals for the new ferry and two firms submitted proposals. Gerhard declined to name the other company.
If things go as planned, construction of the new ferry could start in mid-December. Delivery is planned in March 2006.
The new ferry will open new business opportunities, tourism development and connections with the Hollis-Ketchikan route, according to the IFA.
IFA board member Dee-Dee Jeffreys-Bateman of Coffman Cove said the terminal is being designed.
"The state is building the terminal and the city will own it when it's built," she said. "We hope to have the design completed and go out to bid, hopefully in January."