The busiest ferry terminal for vehicles in Washington State will go brand-new as plans move forward on designing and building a new terminal one-third of a mile from the current 60-year-old Mukilteo ferry terminal near Everett.

Washington State Ferries, a division of the Washington State Department of Transportation and the largest ferry system in the United States, will create a new sustainable terminal with separate loading for pedestrian and vehicle traffic while improving transit connections. The new site gives new life to a former tank farm.

The project will remove the tank farm pier, eliminating thousands of tons of toxic creosote-treated debris from Puget Sound, WSDOT says, to make way for the new terminal, maintenance building, supervisor’s building, transit center and four new toll booths.

The Mukilteo/Clinton ferry route is part of State Route 525 and connects Whidbey Island to the Seattle-Everett metropolitan area, the system’s busiest route for vehicle traffic and the second-highest in annual ridership, with over four million total riders annually.

The terminal has not seen significant improvements since the early 1980s and components of the building no longer meet current seismic standards. All the while, the current layout makes loading passengers difficult and contributes to added congestion. The new building will feature separate loading for pedestrians and bicyclists, which also helps with safety.

Located near the Mukilteo Sounder Station, transportation officials hope to improve the ability of ferry passengers to tie into the regional transit network.

“Thank you to all of the ferry riders, community members, tribes and stakeholders who weighed in during the design process,” Nicole McIntosh, WSF terminal engineering director, said in a statement. “We’re excited to build a new ferry terminal that improves safety for our customers, opens the Mukilteo waterfront and honors the rich cultural history of this important site.”

Work on the new terminal should wrap up in 2019. The current facility will remain in operation until the new one is ready.

Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb