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Nichols Brothers Boat Builders expected to be hired as subcontractor for new 144-car ferry
Nichols Brothers Boat Builders is expected to take part in the construction of Washington state's next 144-car ferry, the company that will build the new vessel said Wednesday.
"We expect and hope that they will be part of the project," said Steve Hirsh, spokesman for Vigor Industrial.
State officials announced Tuesday the “notice of award” was given to Vigor Industrial's US Fab division to begin production of the new $147 million ferry, after it finalizes its contracts and begins to order steel and other materials.
Vigor, the Seattle shipyard formerly known as Todd Pacific Shipyards, will be paid $115.4 million to build the new ferry.
The construction contract included a $6 million cut from Vigor’s initial contract submission.
Shipyard officials said US Fab would start "cutting steel" for the new ferry early next year, and construction is expected to take 27 months.
Though Vigor has not yet announced the two dozen subcontractors and suppliers who will take part in the project, Hirsh said Nichols Brothers will likely get work related to the construction of the new vessel.
"They are very valuable partners," he said.
More than half of the work for the new ferry, 57 percent, will be done by subcontractors.
"Now that we have the price locked up with the state, we now have to go back to our subcontractors and make sure they are comfortable with the price we negotiated," Hirsh said.
"We have a list of several dozen that we're going to start contacting and finalizing agreements with," he added.
Nichols Brothers was a subcontractor on the Kwa-di Tabil-class ferries, and the Freeland shipyard built the superstructures for the three 64-car ferries.
Vigor delivered the third and final Kwa-di Tabil-class ferry, the Kennewick, to the state earlier this week — three months ahead of schedule.
"Nichols was a hugely valuable contributor to the 64-car ferry and we would look forward to having them participate if we can come to terms, which we expect we will," Hirsh said.
Once complete, the new vessel will mean the retirement of the M/V Evergreen State, an 87-car ferry built in 1954 that currently serves the San Juan Islands.