Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Construction starting on Colman Dock

By Broch Bender

The wait to replace the most vulnerable parts of the state's largest and busiest ferry terminal is almost over.
More than 9 million people use Colman Dock every year

More than 9 million people, including over 5.5 million foot passengers, travel through Seattle's Colman Dock every year to ride our ferries. Parts of the dock are supported by timber piles – some dating back to 1938 – that are deteriorating and would not sustain a powerful earthquake.

Also, the layout of the facility creates safety concerns and schedule delays due to conflicts between vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.
Left: timber pile removed and replaced due to deterioration.
Right: This project reduces conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians.

All of that adds up to a need for a serious refurbishment of this important part of our transportation infrastructure.

But don't worry. Throughout our five-year project to build a new, seismically sound ferry terminal, Colman Dock will remain open and operational, with the same number of sailings in and out each day.
Conceptual design of the new Seattle Multi-Modal Terminal at Colman Dock. The design of the entry building and elevated pedestrian connection will be further reviewed and updated given recent cost increases.

Passenger-only facility moving
The bulk of demolition and restoration gets rolling in September, but before that happens we need to temporarily move the passenger-only ferry facility from the south side of the dock to the north side. We expect the temporary facility to be in place until fall 2018.
The passenger-only ferry facility will temporarily move during construction.

Moving the passenger-only ferry facility, currently used by the King County Water Taxi and Kitsap Transit's Fast Ferry, removes conflict with foot-ferries and gives crews room to swing barges around to the south side of the dock.

For the next year-and-a-half we will team with King County to build a brand new, weather-protected passenger-only ferry terminal at the foot of Yesler Way.
Conceptual images of the new passenger-only ferry facility. The new facility is expected to open in fall 2018

What ferries customers can expect August 1-14
Travelers waiting for the ferry may see cranes, feel vibrations and hear loud hammering noises as we drive piles and build the temporary passenger-only dock along the north side of the terminal near the fire station.
  • Work hours are 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • There will be no change in service or current vehicle holding space during this phase of construction.
What to expect for passenger-only ferry service
The existing passenger-only ferry terminal on the south side of Colman Dock, near Yesler Way, will close for up to one week starting Aug. 7.

The first in-water pile to support the temporary passenger-only ferry installed on Aug. 1 on the north side of Colman Dock.

Why are we doing this noisy work now?
We know summertime is hopping on the waterfront, and we are working closely with our contractor to minimize construction effects on ferry travelers and the public.

The reality is we are only able to complete in-water construction activities during a federally designated window, Aug. 1 to Feb. 15, to protect salmon and other marine wildlife. For this reason, it is critical that crews start their work in August to stay on schedule.

Getting to the Seattle Ferry Terminal
Earlier this summer we changed the way drivers get to the ferry. The main entrance to Colman Dock shifted from Yesler Way to Madison Street. This change allows us to use the lanes in front of the ferry terminal building for both ferry access and extra space for vehicle queuing as more and more space on the dock is sectioned off for construction. Bicycles and pedestrians can access the terminal via Yesler Way or Madison Street.

This is a big and exciting project and we appreciate your patience while we get this done. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for all the latest Colman Dock Project news.


Frequent Ferry Rider said...

We're all for the Colman dock project however there needs to be changes made to the traffic lights when you exit the ferry. We are now spending 20-30 mins waiting to get thru the lights to enter downtown. Any plans to consider this change? Thanks

WSDOT said...

Frequent Ferry Rider, we work closely with the City of Seattle to allow for the best possible traffic flow from Colman Dock onto city streets, however Washington State Ferries nor the Colman Dock Replacement Project includes traffic signal timing adjustments. You may be seeing longer wait times because we’re in the middle of peak ferry-riding season. On top of that more drivers taking Alaskan Way to avoid construction throughout downtown Seattle.

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