Fraser Shipyards will build a new car ferry destined for Lake Erie, the company's first major shipbuilding project in 52 years.

Fraser, a historic shipyard in Superior, Wis., Tuesday announced a contract to build a 26-car ferry for Miller Boat Line. The 140-foot long vessel will run from Catawba Island Township to South Bass and Middle Bass islands, two popular resort destinations on Lake Erie.

The cost of the ferry, to be christened the Mary Ann Market, wasn’t disclosed. It will have a main deck cabin and feature 20 percent more cargo capacity than Miller Boat Line’s current largest ferry. (Miller operates four ferries).

Fraser, founded in 1890, has focused on ship repair work for decades, particularly on ore boats and other bulk freighters that ply the Great Lakes.

The company has built a small tug boat and several barges in more recent years. But the last time it constructed a vessel of this magnitude was in 1966, when Fraser completed the Island Queen car ferry. That boat still runs regularly from Bayfield, Wis., to Madeline Island.

Fraser will start building the Miller Boat Line ferry this fall in modules, which workers will then assemble.

“We are excited and honored to have been selected for this project,” James Farkas, president of Fraser’s parent company said in a statement. “We look forward to delivering a modern vessel that meets all of (Miller’s) needs.”

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