Brooklyn Boro

Construction begins on 19 new citywide ferries

September 22, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The hull of one of the city’s new ferries is under construction at the Horizon shipyard in Alabama. Photo courtesy of Hornblower

De Blasio: ‘Full Steam Ahead’

Construction has begun on 19 new ferries that will carry passengers in New York City’s first citywide ferry system, the city and the ferry operator announced late Wednesday.

Assembly line work has already kicked off on the first seven of the 85-foot-long aluminum vessels.

The construction is taking place at shipyards Metal Shark in Jeanerette, Louisiana, and Horizon in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, according to a statement put out by Mayor Bill de Blasio, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Hornblower, the operator of Citywide Ferry. Approximately 200 full-time builders between both shipyards are working on the project.

Final assembly of all vessel components will take place at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

“We are moving full steam ahead and bringing modern ferry boats, outfitted with the latest technology and safety features, to our waterways,” de Blasio said in a statement.

NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer said, “We can’t wait for New Yorkers to see these modern and efficient boats, which will arrive in New York Harbor starting early next year.”

When complete, each ferry will be able to carry 150 passengers along with space for bikes, strollers and wheelchairs and will be ADA compliant. Wi-Fi will be available throughout the ship, and the decks will be heated during the winter. The ferries will be installed with ultra-efficient engines to reduce emissions.

The new Citywide Ferry Service will eventually carry passengers across six routes with 21 landings. The East River Ferry will be integrated into the system, which will reduce the cost of that service from $4 to the same cost as a subway ride.

Ferries along the South Brooklyn route will stop at docks at Bay Ridge, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Red Hook, Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 and Pier 6, and then travel over to Pier 11 at Wall Street in lower Manhattan.

In 2018, the city plans to begin ferry service from docks in Soundview on the Bronx waterfront and on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. And routes from Coney Island and Stapleton on Staten Island are planned for future expansion.

Phase one of the service is scheduled to launch in summer 2017.

New York City companies are also getting a piece of the construction action. The barges for the ferry landings are being fabricated by Skanska at May Ship Repair on Staten Island, according to Hornblower. Later this year, NYCEDC will begin installation of new landings for the 2017 routes.

Hornblower Senior VP Cameron Clark, the project manager for Citywide Ferry, said he is confident in both shipyards’ ability to deliver the vessels on schedule.

Hornblower supplied this factoid about the fabrication of the vessels: The fleet of 19 ships will be built with the equivalent of over 77 million cans of aluminum.