Alaska Class Ferry Conceptual Drawing

Governor Sean Parnell announced in the fall of 2014 that the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and Vigor Industrial have reached a final agreement to construct two Day Boat Alaska Class Ferries at Vigor Alaska in Ketchikan.The ferries will be 280- feet long, seat up to 300 passengers and carry 53 standard vehicles. Each ferry will feature bow and stern doors for quicker loading and unloading, fully enclosed car decks and controllable pitch propellers to maximize maneuverability and efficiency. A modified hull design will greatly improve traveler comfort during rough weather. The State was able to incorporate public input into the final design of the ferries while keeping the project within budget.The vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2018.

Project Update: 02-01-16

The module number diagram and erection sequence of an Alaska Class Ferry with progress noted © Alaska Marine Highway System

Construction continues into its sixteenth month with crews from Vigor Alaska's shipyard in Ketchikan and the AMHS Project Team. Seven modules have been built, with four modules in place and the next two well underway. Other details have also been progressing, such as detail to the interior rendering of the vessels. The Project Team is utilizing computer based technology to coordinate the construction, movement and inventory demands of the project to avoid confusion and delays. The Team achieves this by producing a regularly updated computer animation showing the construction and movement of each module and the attachment of modules to the vessel. The use of technology is assisting to minimize potential problems while increasing efficiencies and coordination in the yard.

Each module is being built as a complete unit, with pipes, electric cable raceways, and other essential systems already installed. These are complete prior to the module being rotated upright, lifted into place and attached to the ship. Pipes, and raceways in previously attached sections must mate up exactly with pipes and raceways in future sections.

When moving the modules into place, they connect pad eyes with hand-operated winches. Pad eyes are a flat metal plate with a ring built in as one complete piece. The pad eyes are welded to the hull, giving the cranes and winches something secure to hold on to. Once lifted in place by cranes, winches are used to slowly tighten each piece together, until the whole section is precisely in place. The pad eyes are then removed and the attach point ground smooth.

Modules #2, #4, #5 & #23 are substantially complete. Work continues on module #1 which is waiting for the bow thruster tunnel ends to be faired into the hull. Module #3 was placed on the vessel during the month of January. Modules #7 and #8 have begun construction. Click on the image above to begin a slideshow of pictures depicting the current progress.

Click here to see the previous update from November