The State of Alaska has signed a contract with ship builder Vigor Alaska to build two new Alaska-class day ferries, Governor Sean Parnell has said.
The construction contract and costs for building the ferries is valued at the $120m budget amount.
The two ferries will be owned and operated by Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) and will be constructed at the Ketchikan shipyard of Vigor Alaska.
Parnell said: "This has been our intent during the entire process and will help create hundreds of new year-round jobs at the Ketchikan shipyard, while helping Ketchikan develop a highly capable workforce, not only for the growing marine economy of south-east Alaska, but with skills that can translate into work across the state."
The 280ft-long new build ferry will be capable of carrying up to 300 passengers and 53 standard vehicles.
Features of the ferries include the bow and stern doors which enable faster loading and unloading, fully enclosed car decks and controllable pitch propellers that help to maximise manoeuvrability and efficiency.
The Ketchikan yard provides a 130,000ft² ship production facility and a five-storey production centre to reduce material flow and maximise efficiency.
Vigor Alaska has reduced the initial estimates for the project in order to keep Alaskan dollars in the state.
The design and estimating process for the project is a collaborative effort between Vigor Alaska, Alaska Department of Transportation as well as Alaska Marine Highway System and Elliot Bay Design Group.
Construction on the ferries will begin next month and the vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2018.
Image: Officials during the signing ceremony. Photo: courtesy of State of Alsaka.