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New ferry launched


The new Sanpoil during the launch last week. — Scott Hunter photo

The new Keller ferry, the Sanpoil, was launched at about 8:40 a.m. last Thursday at Crescent Bay.

The new ferry, after final fitting and testing, will replace the old Martha S Ferry which was taken out of service July 8.

The Sanpoil’s hull arrived by truck March 18, and Foss Maritime workers have been assembling the vessel until last week.

Scores of onlookers crowded the parking areas near the overlook area just above Grand Coulee Dam and above the assembly area to watch the slow moving process.

Workers stopped work on moving the vessel Monday because of excessive wind at the water line, but then promptly the next day resumed inching the vessel closer to water.

The launch was over about as quickly as it started when a tugboat eased the ferry into the water.

Several who were watching the operation said, “It can float,” as if there were any doubt of that.

Soon the Sanpoil will head out to its permanent work site connecting SR-21 by ferrying vehicles across Lake Roosevelt. Dedication ceremonies are scheduled for Aug. 14 on the south side of the lake.

Meanwhile, the Martha S awaits salvage operations in a drydock south of Grand Coulee Dam after some 68 years of service.

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