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Washington State Ferries System Electrification Program

Location Seattle, Washington

Client Washington State Department of Transportation

Services Program Management, Project Management

Project Value $4 Billion

As the leader of a large General Engineering Consultant (GEC) team, Hill is providing program management services to the Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) Washington State Ferries (WSF) for the organization’s ambitious System Electrification Program (SEP). The SEP encompasses the electrification of WSF’s entire system, comprising 21 passenger ferries serving 19 terminals on 10 routes in Washington’s Puget Sound. Every year, WSF vessels ferry more than 17 million riders, but emit 145,000 metric tons of carbon. This represents approximately 72% of WSDOT’s annual emissions. By electrifying the ferry system, WSF aims to slash carbon output, contribute to a more sustainable state transit system, boost the state’s economy, deliver better health for Washingtonians, and combat climate change.

The SEP includes the conversion of 6 existing vessels to hybrid-electric power, the procurement of 16 brand-new hybrid-electric vessels, the complete electrification of 16 terminals, and comprehensive workforce training to facilitate the operation of a 100% emission-free ferry fleet by 2050. WSF’s program is the largest marine electrification effort underway in the world today.

To deliver WSF’s vision for a greener ferry system, Hill is overseeing the efforts of the entire GEC team, comprising 21 firms with a range of skill sets and experience in program management, terminal/electrical engineering, marine engineering, environmental engineering, risk management, and more. The GEC team will work closely with WSF to define, estimate, schedule, and authorize scopes of work and execute a variety of task orders for program management, terminal engineering, and vessel engineering. The team will also provide overall program management, program controls, cost engineering and control, schedule management, document management, risk management, contract management, quality management, communication management, and environmental and permitting support services throughout the SEP to promote efficiency and adherence to WSF’s requirements.

Hill’s program approach involves cultivating partnership between WSF and the GEC. At the commencement of the program, the Hill team participated in a variety of partnering activities, including a kickoff meeting, the development of a core principles document, conducting a client expectations survey, and the implementation of a “zippered” approach, which involves pairing up counterpart staff from WSF and the GEC. Hill has also implemented contract management measures to boost efficiency and help maintain the culture of partnership for the program’s duration. These efforts will facilitate collaboration, transparency, and communications throughout the program delivery organization.