November 9, 2012 at 6:52 PM
Walla Walla ferry out of service indefinitely
The 188-car ferry, Walla Walla, is out of service indefinitely after parts of an engine melted and charred during maintenance last weekend.
The Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division announced the decommission of the ferry, one of Puget Sound’s largest, today. Ferry schedules haven’t been impacted yet because the Walla Walla was already scheduled to be out for maintenance, but future schedules might have to be altered, said WSDOT spokeswoman Marta Coursey.
Ferry passengers can sign up for news updates on potential schedule changes at WSDOT’s ferry website, Coursey said.
The Walla Walla had been at Everett Shipyard since July before it was recently towed to Bainbridge Island’s Eagle Harbor.
The failure of one of the ferry’s driver motors happened during maintenance on Sunday, according to a department release. Coursey said the ferry will be out of service for “at least the next few months” as crews work to repair one of four drive motors, which turn the ferry’s propellers.
WSDOT said preliminary findings from their internal investigation show there was no explosion that led to the damage. But because the damage was so serious, the investigation has since been taken on by a third party contractor, Cadick Corporation, according to a WSDOT release.
WSDOT expects the investigation to be completed within the next two to three weeks.
In the meantime, WSDOT is seeing if it’s possible to substitute a spare drive motor already in its warehouse. If that’s the case, repairs could start at the engine manufacturer’s shop by the end of next week.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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