Two BC firms have been shortlisted for the project to design and build the new Glade and Harrop ferries.
Following a request for qualifications, the provincial government has invited Harbour Cruises Ltd. of Vancouver and Waterbridge Steel Inc. of Nakusp to bid on the project.
Waterbridge built the new MV Columbia on Upper Arrow Lake, which now plies between Galena Bay and Shelter Bay.
The successful bidder will also build new ferries for Arrow Park and Adams Lake.
The request for proposals will close in January. It’s expected work on the first of four new vessels to begin next summer, with all new vessels expected to be in service by the end of 2019.
The new Glade ferry will be able to hold nine vehicles, compared to the present eight, while the new Harrop one will be able to hold 24, compared to the present 18.
The current Harrop ferry, built in 1949, operates on demand 24 hours a day while the Glade ferry, built in 1948, takes a break between 2:20 and 5 a.m.
The Ministry of Transportation said it did a cost analysis that determined ferries were a more affordable solution than bridges “now and for the forseeable future” although the analysis won’t be made public until the tender process closes.