Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Elliott Bay Design Wins Ferry Contract

By Mark Edward Nero

Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering firm Elliott Bay Design Group has been selected by the New York Department of Transportation to design a new class of ferries that will operate between Staten Island and Manhattan.

The project scope consists of a complete design package, including contract drawings, specifications and other documents for vessels to replace the existing Barberi and Kennedy Class ferries. Also included in the scope are modifications to the existing Molinari Class ferries to retrofit a new propulsion system, something the city says is necessary to establish consistency between the new ferries and those that will remain in the fleet.

“We’re excited to get the project underway,” EBDG Project Manager Matt Williamson said. “We’re looking forward to developing a vessel design that meets the need of the Staten Island Ferry on all fronts – economical to construct, efficient to operate and providing safe and reliable service to the people of New York.”

EBDG previously served as sub-contractor as part of a KPFF consulting engineers project team that performed a preliminary design investigation to ascertain the needs of a future ferry fleet. The results determined that reconstructing the fleet's older classes of boats wasn’t economically feasible. Instead, the investigation recommended the design of new double-ended ferry boats with overall passenger capacity of 4,500 and cycloidal propulsion.

US Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) has said that in the wake of damage from Superstorm Sandy in 2012, ferries are a key part of a more modern and resilient regional infrastructure because of their ability to begin service immediately after a storm, given the proper landing equipment.

NYC DOT is expected to apply for a $267 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration Sandy Resilience Program to help pay for the ferries, which will cost an estimated $309 million to build.