New Mukilteo ferry terminal to start construction this summer
A graphic showing the new ferry terminal setup anticipated to open in late 2019.
MUKILTEO — Construction work to build a new, bigger ferry terminal is starting this summer.
The new, two-story terminal will finally replace the almost 60-year-old terminal at the end of the Mukilteo Speedway.
The new terminal will be a few hundred feet eastward on the former U.S. Air Force oil tank “farm.”
The state Department of Transportation hosted an open house last week that had more than 120 people fill a room of the Rosehill Community Center.
No building framework will be immediately visible when work starts in August. Much of this year’s work is putting in pilings to form the ferry dock and stand the terminal in the water.
The new terminal should start taking shape next year and open for business in December 2019.
Two changes drivers will notice soon are to the ferry lanes. Transportation will pull back the stop line for the ferry lane by 25 feet on the Mukilteo Speedway where it intersects with Fifth Street intersection to make it less confusing for drivers. It will also be installing a crosswalk across the Speedway at Goat Trail Loop.
The new terminal will be safer and faster, Washington State Ferries spokesman Brian Mannion said. The terminal puts passenger walk-ons directly onto the ferry, unlike today where foot traffic walks on before cars drive on. It will be faster because cars
and foot traffic can load on and off the ferry simultaneously, versus in a sequential order that makes drivers wait for pedestrians to be out of the way.
It will be green. Solar panels will run across much of the terminal’s roof, with room for more panels later in effort to cut electricity costs.
The building will be LEED Silver certified. It will be seismically up to date, too.
Drawings show the new terminal’s interior is meant to look like a Coast Salish lodge, with large picture windows and wood beams.
The new loading area will hold 246 cars, up from 216 today. The loading area brings cars to First Street, which under peak hours should shorten the lines on the Mukilteo Speedway.
What’s lacking in the plans is any long-term parking, which bothers Whidbey
Island commuters who prefer to position their cars in Mukilteo and walk onto the ferry.
Jon and Cindy Wilbert of Langley on Whidbey Island like the new terminal except for the lack of parking.
“It’s troublesome,” Jon Wilbert said. “If you’re trying to encourage ferry walk-ons, why can’t people park right by the ferry?”
Mukilteo Ferry Terminal Project Manager Charlie Torres said lack of parking is the No. 1 complaint he’s hearing in feedback meetings.
“You invite us to a ‘multi-modal’ facility,” with bus service and the nearby Sounder train platform, “and where do I park my car?” Torres said.
Construction crews will be active from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. They should clear out before rush hour hits.
Transportation plans to install a stoplight where Front Street meets the Speedway.
When drivers offload, they will be staggered through the lights to turn onto the
Mukilteo Speedway, Transportation traffic engineer Miguel Gavino said.
These lights will be synchronized to the light at 5th Street and the Speedway.
Councilman Richard Emery said he is hopeful that the traffic plans will help give breaks in ferry off-flow traffic. Right now the stream of cars off the ferry tempts drivers trying to get off the side streets to take risky moves to avoid being stuck waiting.
The $140 million terminal is overdue by most standards.
The current terminal last had major retrofits in 1982.
The ferry service between Mukilteo and Clinton carried more than 4 million total riders in 2015.
Lengthy negotiations with the Air Force was one part of what delayed the process; the site location was determined in 2011, but it wasn’t until 2013 that the land transfer took place. Transportation also had to secure the remaining money for the project, which came through last year.
The new terminal is anticipated to have a 75-year lifespan, a project architect said.
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