Noise of pier project debated

MUKILTEO – It’s going to be noisy, and there’s going to be a lot of truck traffic.

So says the city of Mukilteo regarding the effects of the Port of Everett’s proposed $15.5 million barge pier and rail spur for Boeing parts shipped from overseas.

Two of the three possible sites for the pier are in Everett just outside the Mukilteo city limits. But construction noise is expected to be heard all over the area. And trucks will have to use Mukilteo streets to reach the construction site at the end of the old fuel tank farm on the waterfront.

In its responses to the port’s recently released draft environmental impact statement, the city can ask for restrictions on truck traffic and pile driving, officials told the City Council. The deadline for submitting comments is July 8.

City Councilwoman Cathy Reese said her goal for residents is “to just get some relief from that constant construction. It’s going to be pretty intense.”

Work is scheduled to begin next year and be completed in 2006. The state promised to build the pier if Boeing chose Washington state as the place to build its new 7E7 passenger jet, and will reimburse the port for $15.5 million. The pier will be able to handle parts for other types of Boeing jets as well, port executive director John Mohr said.

Pile driving will be particularly noisy, Mukilteo public works director Tom Hansen said. He said he would ask the port to limit pile driving to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, excluding holidays.

In calculating existing noise in the area, the draft report did not figure in the quieter times when trains aren’t rumbling through, Mukilteo planning director Heather McCartney told the council. As a result, the report erroneously concludes that noise from pile driving, trucks and more train activity will add no appreciable noise, she told the council.

“In the quiet time, we may not be quiet anymore,” said resident Pat Kessler, who lives on the hillside near the project.

The draft report mentions using Mukilteo Lane for construction traffic, Hansen said. But the street is too small to handle the traffic, he said, and should be off-limits to construction traffic altogether. He said Front Street should be used instead, with times limited.

To reach Front Street, trucks would have to take Highway 525 to the ferry dock, Hansen said. “That’s a problematic intersection,” he said.

As far as operations are concerned, the location of the new track would cause containers to hang out over Mukilteo Lane, another area of concern, Hansen said. And more train cars will be going through town, Reese said.

“I think it’s really important that a quiet zone be included,” she said, referring to an area in which trains would not be allowed to blow their whistles. That would require a $500,000 investment in safety devices.

Port officials said they would respond to the city’s proposals following the comment period.

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