New ferry terminal takes big step forward

Facility on track to open in 2020
By Brandon Gustafson | Apr 17, 2019
Photo by: Brandon Gustafson An IMCO General Construction employee watches as a “wall form” is removed from the new ferry terminal passenger building on Wednesday, April 10. The new terminal is expected to open in fall 2020.

With cameras ready and media members watching, representatives from Washington State Ferries and IMCO General Construction workers last Wednesday, April 10, revealed, well, some gray concrete walls.

Cranes and construction workers removed wall forms and gave the first look at the new ferry terminal’s passenger building.

“Today marks a significant milestone in the replacement of the Mukilteo ferry terminal with a safer, more efficient multimodal terminal for our future,” Nicole McIntosh, director of terminal engineering for Washington State Ferries (WSF), told the crowd of reporters and camera operators.

The crowd was gathered on the site of the former U.S. Air Force tank farm, transferred to the Port of Everett, the city of Mukilteo, and WSF in 2013 after over a decade of discussion. The new terminal will replace the existing one, built in 1957, on that property.

“In 2004, we began our environmental process for the Mukilteo multimodal terminal, (and) we began our scoping with the public,” she said. “(The existing terminal) was built to accommodate the traffic in 1957, which was significantly less than what we see today. It’s seismically deficient.”

According to WSF’s 2040 long-range plan, the Mukilteo-Clinton ferry route is the busiest route in the state in terms of vehicle traffic. In 2017, the route had 2.21 million vehicles, and that number is expected to grow to 2.64 million by 2040. Overall ridership for the route is well over 4 million annually.

“The new ferry terminal will be built to reduce the traffic along SR 525,” McIntosh said.

Additionally, those getting on the ferry should see increased loading speeds. The new terminal will be equipped with overhead pedestrian loading, so vehicles and pedestrians can be loaded onto the boats at the same time, McIntosh said.

“This will allow us to accommodate our 2040 projected growth in ridership of 24 percent walk-on ridership.”

McIntosh also described the project as “light on the earth,” as WSF is putting in solar panels, capturing rainwater, and installing operable windows for “natural ventilation” in the new passenger building.

The construction of the passenger building, promenade, and other portions of the project began earlier this year. IMCO General Construction landed the project for $49.7 million.

“The whole project is now $167 million,” McIntosh said. “The target for opening is the fall of 2020.”

The project has seen its share of delays.

Last summer, WSF announced the project was delayed as contractors’ bids came in over WSF’s budget. The lowest bid was roughly $8 million over WSF’s “engineers’ estimate,” and the second closest was $18 million over budget. WSF representatives said a large reason for the project coming in over budget was due to increased steel prices from tariffs implemented by President Donald Trump’s administration.

“Steel prices are rapidly rising,” WSF spokesperson Ian Sterling said last summer. “That’s the primary reason (the bids were over budget), but there are other reasons as well.”

WSF initially planned for the terminal to open next spring, but having to repackage the project pushed back the expected opening to fall 2020.

Additionally, the project package was split into two portions: the upland phase and the marine phase.

IMCO is working on the upland phase, which includes the terminal building, lanes, toll plaza, and promenade. McIntosh said the marine phase is currently out to bid, and WSF expects to open and examine contractors’ bids in a few weeks.

McIntosh said that phase is “everything out in the water.” That includes the transfer stands, as well as a new fishing pier to replace the existing one next to Ivar’s.


What to expect

With the project steadily moving forward, those who live in Old Town, along with those who frequent the waterfront, will notice more construction activity as the weather gets nicer.

WSF representatives said anywhere from six to eight trucks may be entering and leaving the facility each hour over the next few weeks to bring in fill for the future holding lanes. Those trucks will go along a route that’s set up for them.

Those hours are 7 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and 7 a.m to 1 p.m. Fridays.

To minimize disruption to residents, trucking hours are limited to Monday through Friday, and flaggers will be in place during those hours to direct traffic.

Additionally, as reported in The Beacon previously, the pedestrian trail in that area will be closed until fall so crews can work on the new First Street.

To follow along with the project, visit

Those with specific questions and concerns on the Mukilteo project can contact WSF at and 206-462-8866.






Nicole McIntosh, director of terminal engineering for Washington State Ferries, discusses the long process to get a new ferry terminal built in Mukilteo. (Photo by: Brandon Gustafson)
Camera crews and Washington State Ferries’ spokesperson Diana Rhodes watch as construction workers prepare to remove the “wall form” from the new ferry terminal passenger building. (Photo by: Brandon Gustafson)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Robert V Ortblad | Apr 17, 2019 15:59

“The whole project is now $167 million,” McIntosh said.

WSDOT Project Delivery Report of Nov 2018 rised cost est. to $195.5 million.

Orginal budget in 2016 was $129 million, for a $67 million increse.



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