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An areal of a Cape May - Lewes Ferry vessel docked at Cape May Terminal, in North Cape May, on Route 9. The Delaware River and Bay Authority is turning to a Seattle-based company to provide planning and analysis for a newly designed vessel for the ferry.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. - Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) officials announced March 9 that the agency has retained Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG) LLC, of Seattle, Washington, a naval architecture/marine engineering firm, to lead a team of consultants to provide planning and analysis that will lead to the eventual design concept for a new vessel for the Cape May-Lewes Ferry (CMLF).

According to a release, during the initial phase, the EBDG team’s primary assignment will be to review, revise and redevelop the Cape May – Lewes Ferry Marine Master Plan, which was produced in 2008. The plan will be developed in coordination with DRBA staff representatives and informed by organization and community stakeholders. 

“EBDG’s first task is to analyze the findings and results of the 2008 Marine Master Plan, conduct a thorough assessment of our existing ferry vessels, and provide an evaluation of future vessel needs,” stated Heath Gehrke, director of Ferry Operations. “When completed, this new planning document – including the conceptual design of a new vessel, will guide our future decision-making process. Our goal is to improve service and reduce operating costs while laying the foundation for sustainable ferry operations for the next generation of our customers.”

The EBDG team will also perform an analysis of various vessel characteristics, including smaller sizes, faster vessels, alternate propulsion systems and environmentally friendly considerations (alternative fuels, hybrids, etc.), as well as how proposed designs interface with existing shore side infrastructure. The review will also provide associated costs as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the options.

The DRBA has engaged EBDG for an initial term of one year to deliver the Phase 1 – Marine Master Planning services and has the option to extend the services agreement for up to three additional periods of one year each. Additional phases of work may include developing final design parameters for new CMLF vessel(s), producing a detailed design package for use in soliciting competitive bids from shipyards for the construction of new CMLF vessel(s), and overseeing and managing the shipyard’s construction of the new vessel(s).

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