As downtown Seattle undergoes massive changes with the opening of the State Route 99 tunnel and the continued demolition of the double-decker Alaskan Way Viaduct, Washington State Dept. of Transportation ramps up progress on the Colman Dock makeover that impacts Washington State Ferries. 

Home to the largest ferry terminal building in the state, which boasts the country’s largest ferry fleet, Colman Dock’s upgrades coincide with the new tunnel and viaduct removal work near the waterfront. 

In April through mid-summer, WSDOT will shift holding lanes for traffic to the dock to make way for overhead walkway construction. Construction will near completion on the first portion of the new terminal building, the passenger-only facility, and new elevator on the south side of the dock. 

“This is a complex construction project, and the contractor has a unique phased approach to build the project while keeping the terminal open to customers throughout the work,” Bryant Bullamore, WSDOT construction engineer, says in a statement. “Crews are nearing completion of the first third of the new building, however the current terminal building sits in the way of the future one. This means construction of the remaining two-thirds won’t commence until the older terminal building is demolished and the wooden trestle it sits on is replaced with a seismically sound steel and concrete deck.” 

That first portion of the new building will open in the summer with a temporary Marion Street Bridge and elevated walkways connecting the bridge to the new building. Once that gets completed, crews can demolish the existing building. The smaller terminal will serve passengers until the entirety of the new terminal building opens with the new Colman Dock project in 2023. 

The existing pedestrian bridge that runs along Marion Street between Colman Dock and First Avenue will get partially replaced as part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct project, bringing a temporary pedestrian bridge to the area. The temporary bridge should open in July atop newly placed columns, allowing for the August demolition of that portion of the viaduct. The 2023 completion of Colman Dock will include a new, permanent pedestrian bridge on Marion Street as part of the Waterfront Seattle Project. 

The new bridge, which crosses Alaskan Way, will carry the more than 5 million foot passengers that traverse it annually. The upgraded bridge will feature a wider and cleaner-looking cast-in-place, post-tensioned, haunched concrete structure. A 16-ft-clear width updates the current bridge by 5 ft and includes concrete sides with integrated pedestrian railings, new lighting and a slender, vertical profile. 

The complete rebuild of Colman Dock also includes replacing the existing timber trestle portions with a new concrete and steel trestle, a new overhead loading facility, a bicycle entry and mitigation for additional overwater coverage. 

Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb