CHOKEPOINTS

Newly-opened Mukilteo ferry terminal adds final pieces

Apr 22, 2021, 6:08 AM
Mukilteo ferry terminal...
Traffic lanes leading toward the new toll plaza for the Mukilteo ferry, housing four tollbooths and seven holding lanes. Traditional tribal welcome figures, designed by Suquamish artist Kate Ahkavana, welcome all who enter by land. (WSDOT/Flickr)
(WSDOT/Flickr)

It’s been four months since the new Mukilteo ferry terminal opened to the public, but it opened without some of the bells and whistles. Those features will be going in over the next week.

Photos: Mukilteo gets a new ferry terminal

Work started Wednesday to punch through the new road that will provide direct access from Highway 525 to the terminal. Riders have been using a temporary road to drive the extra third of a mile to the loading area. The new road goes through the old terminal area.

“We needed to demolish the old terminal structures, the toll plaza, staff offices there, and a few other things,” said Diane Rhodes, a Washington State Ferries spokesperson. “We had to get rid of all that to punch that road through.”

The temporary lane didn’t really make getting into and out of the terminal easy either.

“It’s this curvy road that kinds of winds around some of the construction, and that creates its own problems because it’s windy, and narrow, and a single lane in both directions,” Rhodes said.

If the weather holds over the next few days, workers will begin transitioning cars into the new lanes on what will be called First Street.

“They will pave the south part of it first and move the traffic over there from the temporary road,” Rhodes said.

The north lanes will be paved next. By the end of next week, First Street should have two lanes in each direction in and out of the new terminal.

Workers will add a new signal at First Street and Highway 525 in May to improve the flow of traffic. Sidewalks along the new road will also be opened in May.

Walk-on passengers will notice a big change with the first sailings on Monday, when the overhead walkway will be open. The old terminal never had overhead access, meaning walkers had to share the car deck. It’s been that way at the new terminal too. Now, both cars and walkers can get on and off the boats at the same time, which should speed up the process and make operations more efficient.

Are passenger-only ferries the key to solving our congestion?

These improvements should make a big difference for ferry users, but it will come with some pain. You should expect construction slowdowns in downtown Mukilteo as this finishing work is done.

“We’re going to have uniformed police officers there and flaggers directing traffic, but we’ve warned people to avoid peak hours if they can, and if they can’t, just bring a lot of patience,” Rhodes said.

This work is scheduled to continue through Friday and start up again on Monday and Tuesday. It could change a bit with the weather. Pad your schedule with a few more minutes, just in case.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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Newly-opened Mukilteo ferry terminal adds final pieces