Massive 6-year Seattle ferry terminal replacement project kicks off this summer

Wash. State Ferries graphic shows the planned new terminal configuration

SEATTLE - Get ready, ferry commuters.

A six-year project to replace the state's largest ferry terminal on the Seattle waterfront is kicking off this summer, and the ferry system is inviting the public to learn more about the plan and upcoming changes to existing ferry schedules.

Officials say the project is critically needed because the existing facilities at Colman Dock are aging and would be vulnerable during an earthquake. Some timber pilings at the terminal date back to the 1930s, and nearly half of the facility will be demolished during the project.

At the same time, the terminal needs to remain open and operational during the construction work because so many people depend on it to get back and forth across Puget Sound. The terminal served more than 9 million people in 2016.

Key elements of the project include replacement of the main terminal building, a new concrete and steel trestle, a new elevated pedestrian walkway and a new bicycle entryway.

The project will also include a new passenger-only ferry terminal to serve the King County Water Taxi and Kitsap Transit Fast Ferry, and a temporary facility will be set up on the north side of the terminal during construction.

"It’s our responsibility to ensure a safe and operational Colman Dock for the millions of people who rely on it as part of their daily life, and for the important economic link it provides across Puget Sound," said Transportation Secretary Roger Millar.

A series of outreach events are scheduled this month for the public to learn what to expect during the construction project, which will will continue through 2023.

In addition, Washington State Ferries will share information about proposed changes to the Bremerton and Bainbridge Island sailing schedules due to start in January 2018. The changes are needed during construction because the terminal building will be much smaller as crews work on rebuilding the dock and replacing the building.

Currently, vessels depart for Bainbridge Island and Bremerton at the same time several times a day. During construction, there will not be enough space in the terminal to accommodate the number of passengers leaving for both destinations, so some sailing times will be changed.

- View the proposed Bremerton daily sailing schedule

- View the proposed Bainbridge Island Monday-Friday schedule

- View the proposed Bainbridge Island weekend schedule

The first construction-related change ferry riders will encounter are new vehicle access lanes beginning as early as June 26. These lanes, which will be in place for approximately one year, will be located on Alaskan Way adjacent to Colman Dock between Madison Street and Yesler Way, and will serve as ferry access and queuing.

A series of outreach events will be held in the coming days:

- Monday, June 26, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the Kitsap Conference Center, 100 Washington Ave., Bremerton

- Tuesday, June 27, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the Bainbridge Island Senior Center, 370 Brien Dr. SE, Bainbridge Island

- Thursday, June 29, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. at the Seattle Center for Architecture and Design, 1010 Western Ave, Seattle

Two additional drop-in sessions will be held Wednesday, June 21, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. inside the Colman Dock terminal and on Thursday, June 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Chimacum Community Celebration, Bremerton terminal, 211 First St., Bremerton.

Interested persons who cannot attend an outreach event can find the same information through an online open house that runs through July 14.

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