Agreement would let ferry work move forward

Public hearing set as council considers construction mitigation measures
By Nicholas Johnson | May 10, 2017

The City Council is expected to adopt an agreement May 15 with the state Department of Transportation that will allow construction of the new, $139-million multimodal ferry terminal on the Mukilteo waterfront to move forward.

A public hearing is set for 6:45 p.m. May 15 at City Hall.

“We’ve worked really hard to incorporate what we’ve heard from the public over the last year and half into this agreement,” said Patricia Love, the city’s director of Planning and Community Development. “The council has the authority to ask for any changes if they feel we didn’t hit the mark on it.”

In March 2014, the city’s hearing examiner approved an Essential Public Facilities permit and a Shoreline Conditional Use permit for the ferry terminal project with some 56 conditions.

The agreement, negotiated by city and state officials, addresses those conditions by laying out how the state will mitigate the impacts of construction on residents, traffic and the environment. It covers the city and the state’s respective obligations and commitments, as well as issues around construction noise, haul routes and access to the construction site.

The agreement is admittedly incomplete and will be updated by October of this year.

“There are some things we’re still working on, but we’re moving ahead with this in order for WSDOT to get out to bid on a couple parts of the project,” Love said. “Those other things aren’t critical right now to those bids.”

The agreement will allow the state to advertise construction contracts later this month and early next month for work that will begin in September and finish by mid February 2018. That work includes installation of a storm water utility line along First Street, as well as construction of a concrete trestle on which the terminal building will be constructed beginning in March 2018.

Some 60 steel pipes 24 to 30 inches in diameter must be driven into the sea floor to support the trestle. That’s work that must be done during fall and winter months in order to avoid fish migration activity.

“They’re going to finish driving those piles around Christmas time and then they are going to pour a concrete slab,” said Charlie Torres, project manager for Washington State Ferries.

“We are certain that there is nothing the city will object to with respect to the contracts we’re prepared to advertise,” Torres said. “Everything the city has asked us to address for those projects has been addressed.”

Torres said the city and state would continue negotiations on some outstanding issues over this summer and present the City Council with a subsequent agreement in October.

“We said, ‘Don’t hold up these two smaller contracts,’” Torres said. “We can come back in a few months and show the council that we have addressed those other concerns. The remaining concerns are really about the contracts that go to bid in the fall.”

Contracts for construction of the terminal building itself would be advertised in October once the City Council adopts a subsequent agreement that addresses remaining issues.

Those remaining issues include the need to create plans for signage, protection of bird nests and noise control during terminal construction. They also include design of a security fence and plans for a pedestrian crossing at First Street and Mukilteo Speedway while a new intersection is created there.

“It’s going to be real messy down on the waterfront when we do that,” Torres said. “There’s no neat way to do it. The city is concerned about how pedestrians will get through the construction zone. We haven’t finished that discussion, but we did decide it has nothing to do with the trestle and storm water contracts.”

The current agreement allows for construction noise from 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Construction activity won’t be allowed on Sundays or holidays.

Trucks will be allowed to haul material in and out between 7 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, and until 1 p.m. on Fridays.

Trucks will haul material into the site from the Mukilteo Speedway by passing behind the current ferry holding lanes, making their way to Front Street and passing by the NOAA research station. On the way out, trucks will again pass by the research station, sticking to Front Street before turning southbound onto Mukilteo Speedway.

In early July, state officials plan to present the City Council with a 90-percent complete design of the project.

“In July and August, we’re going to be fine tuning everything in our design,” Torres said. “There are always a few loose ends to tie up.”

Also over the summer, state officials will conduct property surveys for property owners nearby the construction site who are concerned construction activity could damage their property.

“It’s hard afterwards to come and say that a 10-foot crack wasn’t there before, so we want to do it before contractors mobilize,” Torres said. “We’re going to go door-to-door with flyers and information about how to request a survey.”

Although the council is expected to adopt the current agreement, Torres said people should show up and weigh in during the public hearing since the mitigation process is ongoing.

“We’re not done,” he said. “This just allows the next two contracts to move forward.”

Comments (1)
Posted by: Joe Kunzler | May 10, 2017 13:49

Really important to Mukilteo's future the Jennifer Gregerson Multimodal Terminal is a success folks.  It's important there's an understanding this is going to be getting cars off of the waterfront using the ferries, for Sound Transit's controversial Sounder North and for the buses to all give more space to Mukilteo's waterfront.  Oh and hopefully an Amtrak Cascades station at a future point.  A few years of noise is a small price to pay for a greater long-lasting good.

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