Work continues on the stormwater system at the construction site of the new Mukilteo ferry terminal. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Work continues on the stormwater system at the construction site of the new Mukilteo ferry terminal. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

The $300,000 sticking point in Mukilteo ferry project

The city might decide Monday on fencing and concrete changes in the ferry terminal plan.

MUKILTEO — It’s coming down to the wire.

Both in time and in the type of material used in fencing for the new Mukilteo ferry terminal.

Concrete and fences are the sticking points in a previously signed agreement between the city and Washington State Ferries.

The city wants its waterfront to look good. The state wants to save money.

Changing the materials would trim about $300,000 in the next project phase expected to exceed $65 million.

City Council members could decide by vote at Monday’s meeting whether to agree to more frugal fencing and a plainer promenade — or not.

“If the addendum is voted in, we are good to go,” ferry spokesperson Broch Bender said.

And if not?

“It could delay the start of the project,” Bender said. “We cannot mobilize the contractor until it is resolved.”

City officials are concerned about maintaining the aesthetics both sides had agreed upon for the massive structure that will dominate the waterfront.

“I don’t want a cheap type of fence,” said Steve Schmalz, council president. “I liked the design on the promenade. It was kind of a cool design. Now they just want to put square regular concrete in there, like the sidewalk. They want to take the design out.”

Mayor Jennifer Gregerson previously expressed the desire for a nice promenade, the boardwalk that will be a centerpiece of the new waterfront.

The project is already behind schedule.

Bids on the terminal phase were rejected in August for being too high, in part blamed on steel tariffs. State engineers came up with an estimate of $65 million for the work that includes building the main terminal and holding lanes. The lowest bid, which was thrown out, came in at $8 million over the estimate.

Ads for new bids slated for next week will continue as scheduled, with the start of construction expected in early in 2019.

“We needed to repackage the bids to make the project fit the available funding,” Bender said.

Contractors whose bids were rejected were asked for feedback how to get costs down. Bender said the list included going with less expensive fencing and concrete. Those two items are tied to an agreement with the city.

“They are trying to take $300,000 out,” Schmalz said. “Is it really going to make that big of a difference?”

In sight of the current ferry, the construction site of the new Mukilteo ferry terminal. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

In sight of the current ferry, the construction site of the new Mukilteo ferry terminal. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

The good news is that other phases are the project are done. The foundation, 7 million pounds of concrete that will support the vehicle loading ramp and overhead pedestrian loading facilities, is finished. The stormwater utilities should be done soon.

Schmalz encourages people to attend Monday’s council meeting.

“It is a good time for public comment,” he said. “It’s also a good time for people to talk about other issues on the waterfront.”

Schmalz said some residents have concerns about the terminal for the ferry route, which handles more than 4 million passengers a year.

“What we’re trying to get across to the ferry folks is the impact the new terminal is going to have on traffic and ways of getting down to the waterfront. They need to help us mitigate some of that.”

Bender said the ferries will work with the city.

“We are committed to building a terminal that works for the city of Mukilteo and our customers,” Bender said.

The 7 p.m. council meeting is at Mukilteo City Hall, 11930 Cyrus Way.

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

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