MUKILTEO — The new ferry terminal is making noise again.
A second round of overnight work started this week on the structural steel components at the new Mukilteo terminal. It will run some nights through Feb. 15, before the fish migration window.
The in-water work requires welding in areas accessible only during extremely low tides that occur during the overnight hours.
Washington State Ferries spokeswoman Diane Rhodes said there weren’t any complaints about noise during the first round of night welding that ended last week.
“The noise level is equivalent to a passing car or bus but it dissipates as you get away from the terminal,” she said. “For the people up on the bluffs, it’s equivalent to rustling leaves.”
There was some curiosity, especially about a woman standing watch in the Mukilteo lighthouse. People wondered who she was and what she was doing there. The “lady in the lighthouse,” as she was dubbed, was watching for marine mammals, which is required when crews do pile driving. So you can expect to see her again.
Pile driving has started on the new fishing pier.
“That’s loud, but that’s during the day,” Rhodes said.
Not to worry, the old pier next to Ivar’s restaurant will remain open for fishing.
“We won’t tear down the old one until the new one is up and operational. So they are not going to be left without a fishing pier,” Rhodes said.
The pier will be finished when the new terminal opens.
“We are still on track. Our plan is to open in late October,” Rhodes said.
And, yes, there will be snacks for those waiting for the next boat to come in.
The agency is accepting proposals for vendors to provide eats inside the holding area at the new terminal. The vendor will be near the new maintenance building, which will have restrooms instead of those honey buckets that now serve those stuck in the holding area.
The total project tab is about $187 million.
In 2018, the state Department of Transportation rejected bids for the construction phase because all of the proposals exceeded funds available. To help lower costs, construction was split into two separate contracts for upland buildings and marine structures.
Work on the terminal buildings, holding lanes, toll plaza and waterfront promenade began in early 2019 by IMCO General Construction of Ferndale. Seattle-based Manson Construction won the bid for the marine elements.
The existing terminal was built in 1957 to accommodate the much-lesser traffic of 62 years ago. The Mukilteo-Clinton route is one of the busiest in the ferry system.