Ferry move is 2 steps closer

By Sara Bruestle | Jun 12, 2013

The Mukilteo ferry landing is two steps closer to relocating to the Mukilteo Tank Farm.

After decades of delays, Washington State Ferries has finished an environmental study of the 20-acre property along the northern Mukilteo-Everett waterfront.

Also, the U.S. Air Force is finalizing the transfer of the Tank Farm to the Port of Everett, according to port officials.

These steps mean the state could start construction of a $140 million ferry terminal one-third of a mile east of its current location as soon as next year.

“This is pretty exciting for me, since this project needs to be done,” said Nicole McIntosh, WSF design engineering manager for the project. “The terminal is old and needs to be replaced.”

After the transfer, the port plans to trade part of the property to WSF in exchange for the Mount Baker Terminal property directly to the east, said John Mohr, executive director of the port. The pier is operated by the port but owned by the state.

About 1 acre will be transferred to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for a new Mukilteo Field Station.

The port then plans to divide up the remaining property for other redevelopment projects, including to Mukilteo. Mohr said the Tulalip tribes have also expressed interest.

“Once the ferry system’s and Sound Transit’s needs are met, we will work with Mukilteo and anyone else with a particular interest to make that available for public use,” he said.

“Our intention is the port will actually own the Mukilteo Tank Farm for only a few minutes,” he added, “because we’d like to have this all worked out ahead of time.”

However, Mohr said there are a number of steps that still need to happen.

The Air Force recently told Congress the property is surplus to its needs and available for donation to the port, Mohr said.

Next, the transfer must be OK’d by the port commission and secretary of the Air Force, he said.

“I’m predicting a handover by the end of the year,” Mohr said. “Some people are saying this summer, but it’s more likely that it’s going to be the third or fourth quarter of this year.”

The Air Force used the Tank Farm for jet-fuel storage until 1990, and has been working on transferring it to the port for more than 20 years.

The 60-year-old Mukilteo ferry landing needs to be torn down and replaced, according to WSF. The state’s busiest terminal, it carried 2 million vehicles and nearly 4 million passengers last year.

A new ferry is part of the Mukilteo Multimodal Project, for which plans include a transit station, a waterfront promenade, a pedestrian-bike bridge, a new First Street connection, and a parking garage.

The state’s Environmental Impact Statement examined the impact of replacing the ferry, and identified the preferred alternative known as a modified Elliot Point 2.

McIntosh said WSF plans to release a final decision by August.

WSF planners said this option best addresses issues at the existing terminal, including necessary repairs to the aging dock and upgrades for pedestrian access and passenger connections to commuter rail and transit services.

Elliot Point 2 relocates terminal structures to the western side of the Tank Farm. The water is deeper in this location, so the ferry slip would be closer to the shore with a shorter trestle.

New supervisor, passenger and maintenance buildings, toll booths, 216-vehicle holding area and an overhead passenger loading ramp would be located on either side of the terminal.

The Tank Farm pier and Art Building would be removed. Ivar’s and the Silver Cloud would remain.

A walkway would be built along the edge of the terminal that stretches from First Street to a shoreline promenade located west of the ferry slip. The current holding lanes would be open for redevelopment.

McIntosh said the state already has $108 million for the project and has applied for a $32 million federal grant to “fill the gap.” She said the project team would also continue to apply for other grants.

At the very least, the state could start construction in 2015 and finish by 2018 or 2019, she said.

If it gets the federal grant, the project would start sooner in 2014, to possibly be completed by 2017, McIntosh said.

“Really, the only things between us and a constructed project would be the funding for the project and the property that’s needed,” she said.

More information is available on the project website at www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/ferries/mukilteoterminal/multimodal/.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.