SEATTLE - As the state ferry system struggles with one breakdown after another on some of its older vessels, a new ferry is moving into its next phase of construction.
The new ferry, named the Suquamish, will replace a smaller, older one on the Mukilteo-Clinton route when it goes into service next year.
On Wednesday workers will barge the ferry's superstructure from Jesse Engineering Company in Tacoma, where it was built, to Vigor Shipyard in Seattle, where its hull is under construction. The two halves of the ferry will then be joined together.
The Suquamish is the fourth and final ferry in the new 144-car Olympic class. Two of those vessels - the Tokitae and Samish - are already built and operating. The third, the Chimacum, is near completion and will be assigned to the Seattle-Bremerton route.
Construction cost of the Olympic class has been within one percent of the projected budget on each vessel.
The state ferry system completed more than 162,000 trips in 2016 - enough to circumnavigate the Earth 36 times.