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Seattle's Colman Dock project on track to be completed on time

Construction on the dock began in earnest in 2017, with concerns mounting about the stability of the old creosote-soaked pilings.

SEATTLE — Colman Dock in Seattle will open on time, 5 1/2 years after construction began.

That's the official word from Washington State Ferries, despite all the challenges of the last several years and the physical hurdles in between.

"While going through COVID, while going through a concrete strike, while maintaining operations for passengers. It's quite an amazing feat," said a beaming Bryant Bullamore, of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

Construction on the dock began in earnest in 2017, with concerns mounting about the stability of the old creosote-soaked pilings. Many of them had also been attacked by gribbles, the crustaceans that also caused long-term damage to the seawall before it was replaced.

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The state will ultimately spend $467 million on the renovation, which comes with a new terminal and east-facing plaza connecting it to First Avenue in Seattle. There will also be new food kiosks and elevated walkways. The pillars have been replaced and service was maintained through it all, including the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

The cost is up from the previous $350 million price tag. A WSDOT spokesperson said the change came in the 2019 biennial budget after construction began and involved upgrades to the original plan like the elevated connections, a bicycle facility and building entrance.

Bullamore said the concrete workers’ strike added about 37 days to the project. However, contractors were able to find work to stay on target for the summer opening.

The grand elevated plaza will open in 2023. Sometime after that the temporary pedestrian overpass will be torn down to offer an unobstructed view of the city skyline and the stadiums to the south.

On Monday, the city of Seattle announced a new waterfront park would be delayed a year, until 2025, because of a delay in getting needed concrete.