Southwest Shipyard of Houston, partner of Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG), has been selected by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to build the third vessel in a new class of 28-car ferries for the city of Port Aransas.

Two ferries of the new class were delivered in 2011, and construction of the latest vessel, which is a diesel-electric version, will begin this fall.

EBDG will serve as the owner's representative. EBDG has provided support to TxDOT since 2008.

Following the completion of a multi-phased design effort for two 28-car ferries to offer service between Port Aransas and Harbor Island, EBDG was selected again by TxDOT in 2014 to provide four years of on-call support.

The first project under the new contract was for the design of the diesel-electric version of the 28-car ferry.

The new ABS-classed diesel-electric ferry has a length of 161 feet overall, a beam of 52 feet, a depth of approximately 11 feet and a draft of 8 feet.

Design updates to its interior, including the propulsion system, will translate into a vessel that has greater built-in redundancy and requires less maintenance over its lifetime.

This new ferry represents a vital link to serving the increased traffic demands on Port Aransas. Once it enters service in February of 2017, the old ferries will start being retired, maintaining the Port Aransas fleet at eight vessels.