Tustumena Replacement Model Floats in Bulgaria



2014 conceptual drawing of the ocean-going ferry that would replace the Tustumena in the Alaska Marine Highway System. Glosten / Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Tustumena Ferry replacement process is well underway. The Marine Transportation Advisory Board discussed the progress at its meeting yesterday. Alaska

Marine Highway System General Manager, John Falvey, says that they should have the detailed designs and estimates done by the middle of this December. And they’re doing it not only according to the budget, but maybe even under the budget. Here’s Falvey.

“You know we had ten million, we programmed six. We feel we can get it done for six. So, there should be still four left over when we’re done. We’re surely  hopeful.”

Right now, Falvey says they’re tank-testing in Bulgaria.

“It’s about a 25 foot model that goes into a tank larger than an Olympic-size swimming pool and that will be testing that’s gonna on for quite a few months. And we can learn a lot about the hull and corrections we have to make getting the hull’s computers designed and we’ll get a lot of sea-keeping information.”

Falvey says the new Tustumena isn’t just a copy of the first.

“It’s a little bigger than the current tusty and more carrying capacity and, you know, newer engines will be a lot more fuel efficient. She’ll be a little deeper in the water, so her sea-keeping will be better and just, you know, better all around.”

Falvey says while the Tustumena replacement vessel will be bigger, it will still fit in all the smaller ports.

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