Port Townsend terminal project begins next week

Motorists will soon notice a tighter fit when they depart the ferry at Port Townsend.

Passengers and drivers will be departing and boarding the terminal using the narrower, one-traffic lane wide second slip at the Port Townsend terminal.

The main, two-lane slip will be closed for about four months while the ramp that leads from the ferry to the trestle is replaced.

“The span is at the end of its life,” said John Callahan, project engineer for Washington State Ferries.

Work to replace the ramp, which was originally built in 1982, is scheduled to take place the week of Nov. 12. An actual start date for the construction project hasn’t yet been determined.

The span, which was built in 1982, is operated by cables and counter weights and the new hydraulic span will be a safer system and require less people to operate it, Callahan said.

He said staff decided to wait until the reduction to one-boat service before starting the $5.6 million construction project because it wouldn’t affect the busy summer season.

Washington State Ferries officials are advising drivers and pedestrians to use caution and watch for construction equipment while on the ferry dock. Vehicles will be off-loaded from the ferry from the one-lane slip located farthest from the ferry terminal. Normal conditions will resume at the traffic light, according to Washington State Ferries.

Callahan said no sailings will be canceled because of the construction project. Larger commercial trucks might have a tight fight navigating the slip, but the ferry system has talked with nearby companies.

Construction was originally scheduled to begin Monday, but after what was described as miscommunication with the general contractor, that project has been delayed at least one week, said Laura Johnson, spokeswoman for Washington State Ferries.


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