PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — You may soon notice a couple more boats out on our rivers.
Two new towboats were officially christened Tuesday at a ceremony on the North Shore.
The Renee Lynn and the Alice Jean were both named after family members of long-time Campbell Transportation Company employees.
“We’re very excited,” said Peter Stephaich, the CEO of Campbell Transportation Co. “It’s been a couple years in the making, there’s a tremendous amount of work and technology and effort that has gone into this.”
The state-of-the art boats were built at Campbell Transportation’s shipyard in Dunlevy, Washington County. They are the first new vessels constructed in the Pittsburgh area in 30 years.
The work meant steady paychecks for crews putting the custom-made vessels together.
“They’re very labor intensive,” said Stephaich. “There’s a lot of equipment, machinery on there that’s very expensive.”
In addition to the two tow boats, employees with Campbell Transportation also built a massive dry dock. It took crews about a year to construct it at a facility in West Virginia.
“I think it shows a commitment to the river industry here for Pittsburgh for the next 50 years,” said Stephaich.
Crews of 10 will man each boat and two people will staff the dry dock, which will be stationed at a shipyard in Georgetown.
Larry Darnell, who’s been a captain out on the river for 43 years, says running the new boats is a great opportunity.
“It’s a good feel, I mean the boat is tight, she handles really good; we’ve sea trialed both of these,” said Darnell. “I’ve been in on the sea trials of both vessels and they handled excellent.”
Officials with Campbell Transportation say they plan to build more vessels in the future, continuing to invest in the river system and the local economy.