Ferry riders may lose Mukilteo Dock to construction

"Record, Jan. 15 ferry detour info box The public will soon become involved in ferry system planning to temporarily shut down the Mukilteo ferry dock beginning next September. As a result, Whidbey Island ferry users will be sent to Edmonds for at least part of the day. The ride will take 50 minutes compared to 20 minutes from Clinton to Mukilteo. Joel Colby, an assistant project engineer with Washington State Ferries, said the wingwalls at Mukilteo need to be replaced. “They’re in pretty bad shape,” he said Thursday. “They’re 10 years old -- they’re shot.” The wooden pilings are chewed up by a type of worm, so they’ll be replaced with metal pilings. But that will take some time, forcing the closure of the Mukilteo dock. The ferry system is undecided whether to totally close the dock so work can proceed quickly, or only close it during mid-days when commuters don’t fill the ferry boats. “We’ll go the the public starting the first week of February and see what they prefer,” Colby said. “Get the work done, or minimize the impact?” To minimize impact, the contractor could remove and replace one wingwall at a time to continue ferry service in Mukilteo except for a daily closure from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday through Friday. Under those conditions the job would take eight to 10 weeks. Work would proceed much faster if no ferries came to Mukilteo during construction. Coal estimated the job would then take 20 days. But that would mean commuters would have to arrive and depart in Edmonds. Buses would take them to Mukilteo for transit and other ride connections. Ferry officials talked to the Port of South Whidbey about possibly running a passenger-only ferry from Clinton to Mukilteo, using the port’s small dock adjacent to the ferry dock. But that scenario was all but ruled earlier this week. “We just don’t seem to have the money,” Colby said. "

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