Seattle-Bainbridge, busiest ferry route in Wash., closes to vehicles

Sep 8, 2023, 7:00 AM | Updated: 7:21 am

ferry aground san juan...

(Photo from KIRO 7)

(Photo from KIRO 7)

Washington State Ferries (WSF) partially shut down the Bainbridge-to-Seattle ferry route early Thursday to continue work on a bridge for passenger loading.

The route will go down to one boat service and it will be for walk-on passengers only, which means no cars or bikes of any kind will be allowed.

Normal ferry services are scheduled to resume early in the morning on Wednesday, Sept. 13, WSF reports.

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“The reason we’re doing that is we’re bringing in these huge bridge parts to install, and we have to have someplace to put those, and they are actually being barged up from Tacoma and weigh multiple tons, big pieces of infrastructure,” WSF spokesperson Ian Sterling said.

Sterling said it’s an exciting time to replace the structure that’s been there for 50-plus years and needs to be redone.

“We waited (until) after the holiday weekend,” Sterling said. “We’ve planned for this for a number of years.”

He added that there’s never a good time to shut down a ferry route to cars, but this will have the least impact.

There are multiple other ways back and forth across the water, including the Edmonds-Kingston route.

“We’re going to add a third boat whenever we can there,” Sterling said. “So rather than two, there’ll be three boats moving on the Edmonds Kingston route that’ll help move people back and forth across the sound and help mitigate the Bainbridge closure to cars here for the next week.”

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Drivers can head south over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and take Interstate 5 to Seattle if they want to avoid the disruption.

Since the Edmonds side has been a hot spot for “line cutting,” Sterling said, drivers shouldn’t be surprised if they see troopers keeping watch.

“They don’t always say when they are out and about doing these emphasis patrols, but it’s very possible that they will be looking for line cutters during this time,” Sterling said, according to KIRO Newsradio.

However, Commander Josh McClure, spokesman for the Edmonds Police Department, said to KIRO Newsradio Wednesday his department does not have any plans for emphasis patrol.

“We have communicated with Washington State Patrol in case they intend to have additional resources at the location to direct traffic as they are the primary jurisdiction for the state route there,” McClure said. “Our regular patrols will still respond as we would to any other call for service, if there becomes a need for additional resources, we will navigate that at that time.”

Nothing gets people’s blood boiling like line cutters.

Contributing: Kate Stone, KIRO Newsradio

Follow Micki Gamez on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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Seattle-Bainbridge, busiest ferry route in Wash., closes to vehicles