Tokitae nearly ready for barge

The Tokitae

The huge superstructure of the Tokitae, Washington State Ferries’ newest boat, will leave Nichols Brothers Boat Builders later this week. It was designed to carry 144 vehicles.

Matt Nichols, CEO of the Freeland company, said Monday he expects the structure will be placed on a barge in an operation that might span two days, Thursday and Friday.

Nichols Bros. has launched a lot of boats, but Matt Nichols said this will be the largest piece of work ever placed on a barge. The delicate task requires just the right tidal and weather conditions. It could be completed Friday, he said, emphasizing that a number of factors could still change the timing. Initially, plans were to get the job done Tuesday.

The superstructure weighs approximately 2.5 million pounds. It will be towed to Seattle where the prime contractor, Vigor Shipyard, will join it to the hull and deck.