A worker directs others on a barge during construction Feb. 28 at the new Mukilteo ferry dock. Washington State Ferries awarded a $49.7 million contract to begin work on the passenger building, holding lanes, toll plaza and waterfront promenade. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

A worker directs others on a barge during construction Feb. 28 at the new Mukilteo ferry dock. Washington State Ferries awarded a $49.7 million contract to begin work on the passenger building, holding lanes, toll plaza and waterfront promenade. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

Washington State Ferries awards $49.7 million for terminal

The phase includes the passenger building, holding lanes, toll plaza and waterfront promenade.

MUKILTEO — The new Mukilteo ferry terminal is finally getting off the ground.

Washington State Ferries awarded a contract to start construction on the passenger building, holding lanes, toll plaza and waterfront promenade.

IMCO General Construction, the lowest bidder, landed the deal with a bid of $49.7 million.

The state received three bids for what is the largest chunk of the project, said ferries spokeswoman Diane Rhodes. The top bid was more than $60 million.

More than cost factored into the selection of IMCO, which has its headquarters in Ferndale.

“They had done the earlier stormwater utilities tunneling,” Rhodes said. “They were the low bidder, but they are also very familiar with the project.”

That preparation work for the terminal was recently completed, as was the foundation that will support the vehicle loading ramp and overhead pedestrian loading facilities.

Construction continues Oct. 11 on the stormwater system at the site of the new Mukilteo ferry terminal. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Construction continues Oct. 11 on the stormwater system at the site of the new Mukilteo ferry terminal. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Terminal construction was delayed when the five bids for this major phase were rejected in August. The state Department of Transportation engineers came up with an estimate of $65 million for work that includes upland buildings and the marine structures. The lowest contractor bid came in at $8 million over the estimate, but was rejected for irregularities. The next was $18 million over budget. Bids went up from there. Steel tariffs were cited as one reason for the steep price.

After seeking feedback from bidders, some aspects were re-examined and tweaked to keep it within budget. That led to a decision to split it into two contracts, one for upland buildings and another for remaining marine elements.

The upland package, awarded to IMCO, includes the nicer fencing and the textured concrete for the promenade that Mukilteo’s mayor and council fought to keep.

Mayor Jennifer Gregerson said the state is following through on these earlier commitments made to the city. “But it doesn’t include the easy come-and-go access we hoped for … We are hopeful there can be a way for folks waiting to board to be able to visit Mukilteo businesses,” she said. “It’s still a positive that the project is moving forward.”

A contract to build structures over the water is expected to go to bid in early 2019.

“They are working to re-estimate that portion now,” Rhodes said.

The $167 million in federal and state funding appropriated for the entire project won’t be enough to foot the bill.

“We are working with the Legislature on that,” she said.

The existing terminal was built in 1957 and has not had significant improvements since the early 1980s.

Meantime, the Mukilteo-to-Clinton ferry route has become one of the state’s busiest, with more than 4 million annual riders.

If all goes well, travelers will start or end their voyage in a new facility, and maybe stroll the promenade or score an ice cream cone at the Ivar’s window.

“We are still on track to open in fall of 2020,” Rhodes said.

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

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