The passenger loading ramp at the new Mukilteo ferry terminal is expected to be fully operational on Monday. (Washington State Department of Transportation)

The passenger loading ramp at the new Mukilteo ferry terminal is expected to be fully operational on Monday. (Washington State Department of Transportation)

First time ever: Mukilteo ferry walk-ons get their own ramp

The new terminal’s passenger loading walkway opens Monday. Expect delays as road paving continues.

MUKILTEO — Things are ramping up at the new ferry terminal here.

That’s good news and bad.

First, the bad: Plan for traffic delays. Paving the permanent access road is underway. Better show up 15 minutes earlier than usual for your desired sailing, and allow even more time if you hope to score an Ivar’s ice cream cone for the voyage.

Now the great news: On Monday, the overhead passenger loading walkway is expected to be ready for foot traffic. This marks the first time in 64 years that walk-ons don’t have to arrive and depart Mukilteo on the same ramp vehicles use.

It means people and cars can load and unload at the same time, the way it is done at the Edmonds-Kingston terminal. No more mingling with cars on the boat’s lower level. The gangplank will take riders straight to the deck. Face coverings are required.

The walkway comes four months after the new $187 million terminal opened in late December. Manufacturing delays related to COVID-19 shutdowns last year stalled the bridge’s completion. Crews were trained this week to operate the walkway.

This is a boon for safety and efficiency at the busy Mukilteo terminal, which gets 2 million vehicles and 4 million riders each year on the route to Whidbey Island. Boats leave Mukilteo and Clinton every half hour for the 20-minute sailing.

All the elevators at the terminal are now working. The two east elevators recently were closed for several weeks after inspectors noticed the doors were not fully flush with the door jambs when open. That issue has been fixed.

Paving work began midweek on the permanent road on First Street connecting the terminal and Highway 525. Traffic has used a winding temporary road since the new facility opened.

There will be single lanes in and out of the terminal until crews finish paving. When complete, there will be two lanes in each direction.

Even then, on weekends and warm days, you still might want to arrive early, to get a cone or get a space in line.

Check a real-time schedule online or through the WSDOT app.

Andrea Brown:; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

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