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Here’s the back story on that giant ferry piece leaving Tacoma

The superstructure of the 144-car ferry Suquamish will leave Tacoma on Wednesday for Seattle.
The superstructure of the 144-car ferry Suquamish will leave Tacoma on Wednesday for Seattle. Courtesy

That ginormous ferry piece leaving Tacoma on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 16) for Seattle is the result of 16 months of hard work.

Jesse Co., formerly Jesse Engineering, will load the superstructure of the 144-car ferry Suquamish on a barge near the Port of Tacoma for the trip to Vigor’s Harbor Island Shipyard in Seattle.

What is leaving Tacoma is the ferry structure above the main deck. The superstructure portion will be atop the hull and main deck of the ferry Vigor has built.

The superstructure and hull will be joined Friday at Vigor’s Seattle site.

“Many thousands of man hours were put into the construction of the superstructure by Jesse’s crews and their subcontractors,” according to a Jesse Co. media release.

“With a design life of 60 years, the Suquamish will be fully outfitted and ready to sail by July of 2018.

“The movement of the superstructure, or top half, of the 362-foot vessel is not only a major milestone but also illustrative of the wide-ranging jobs and economic impact of building ferries in this state.

“Jesse Co. is one of more than a dozen subcontractors working with Vigor on the Suquamish, the state’s fourth new Olympia Class ferry.”

According to the company, the superstructure is 266 feet, 9 inches long, 81 feet, 9 inches wide and 74 feet and 11 inches tall. It weighs 1,600 tons.

At 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, the superstructure will go onto a barge at Jesse Co., 1840 Marine View Drive. The company expects it will take one to three hours to roll the superstructure onto the barge and four hours to lash it down.

The journey to Seattle is expected to begin about 5 p.m.

Debbie Cockrell: 253-597-8364, @Debbie_Cockrell

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