SEATTLE — It will be another week before bids are opened on two new ferries designed to navigate the challenging waters between Whidbey Island and the Olympic Peninsula.
Bids on the 64-car Island Home-style ferries were to have been opened Thursday.
“In response to a request from the shipyards for more time to prepare their bids, we are extending the bid deadline by one week,” said Marta Coursey, a spokeswoman with the ferries division of the Washington State Department of Transportation.
The bid opening now will be Thursday.
The new ferries are being designed to replace the state’s Steel Electric-class ferries, which were pulled from service because of safety concerns on Nov. 20, 2007, and later retired. The then-80-year-old ferries were the only vessels in the state’s fleet capable of carrying cars and freight on the route between Port Townsend and challenging Keystone Harbor on Whidbey. The state found no buyers for the Steel Electrics, which are now being sold for scrap.
The state still hopes before the end of the year to award a contract for the new ferries, with the first available for service in April 2010.
The latest information on the project can be found at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/Ferries/NewVessel/ptk.htm.