As part of their Marine Master Plan, the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, operated by the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA), is planning to phase out their aging three vessel ferry fleet and phase in four smaller ferry vessels, each with a capacity for 75 vehicles and 329 passengers.
The new, smaller vessels are expected to save the DRBA about $1.2 million in operating costs due to decreased fuel consumption and decreased maintenance and labor costs.
The plans for the new fleet were unveiled at a public meeting on February 23, 2023. Since 2021, DRBA has been working on the Marine Master Plan in partnership with Elliott Bay Design Group and KPFF Consulting Engineers.
The group considered four fleet configurations before settling on their choice for a four vessel mid-size fleet. Other options that were considered were to optimize the existing fleet of three vessels, a mid-size fleet of three 75-car ferries or a smaller vessel fleet of five 55-car 240-passenger ferries.
The project is estimated to cost a total of $320 million, $304 million for the new ferry vessels and $16 million in estimated costs for terminal improvements.
Designs for the new vessels are estimated to be completed in Q1 2024 with construction starting in Q4 2024 and lasting two years.