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Mukilteo terminal move supported on Whidbey | UPDATE

The Clinton ferry pulls into its longtime terminal. Progress is being made on plans to move the terminal one-third of a mile to the east to provide an easier connection to Sound Transit’s commuter train.   - Ben Watanabe / The Record
The Clinton ferry pulls into its longtime terminal. Progress is being made on plans to move the terminal one-third of a mile to the east to provide an easier connection to Sound Transit’s commuter train.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

Future ferry riders from Clinton to Mukilteo won’t be docking between Ivar’s and the block of white waterfront condos if the state Department of Transportation has its way.

The DOT’s Ferries Division announced Monday afternoon that the aging ferry terminal at Mukilteo should be replaced with a new terminal one-third of a mile to the east.

The idea agrees with Dave Hoogerwerf, chairman of the Clinton Advisory Committee.

“I favored it,” Hoogerwerf said Tuesday, referring to past testimony he’s made before ferry officials. “Primarily for two features — it’s close to the Sound Transit train and will have a good bus connection, and it’s less costly.”

This preferred alternative was selected based on public, agency and tribal comments received on the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) released in January 2012, according to a news release.

As the Ferries Division sees it, the preferred alternative, known as Elliot Point 2, would best avoid environmental impacts and it addresses problems at the current terminal at the foot of Front Street and Highway 525. These include a 60-year-old dock in need of significant repairs and upgrading, inadequate passenger connections between the ferry and nearby commuter rail and transit facilities, and pedestrian and vehicle conflicts.

The Mukilteo/Clinton ferry route is the state’s busiest for vehicles and has the second-highest annual ridership, serving more than 4 million riders in 2011.

“We have worked for several years with ferry riders, community members, elected officials, tribes and others to get to this point, which moves us one step closer to building a new Mukilteo ferry terminal,” said David Moseley, assistant transportation secretary, Ferries Division. “Next, we look forward to completing the environmental process so we can move forward to secure funding for final design and construction.”

A final EIS will be completed by Washington State Ferries and the Federal Transit Administration in spring 2013. As the design and environmental review continues, the preferred alternative will continue to be refined.

Elliot Point 2 is on the western portion of the Mukilteo Tank Farm east of the current terminal. Construction of a new terminal at this location would cost approximately $120 million to $130 million. The Legislature has, so far, identified $90.1 million for the project, including $29 million in federal planning and design grants. Current federal funding will allow WSF to complete the final EIS. The project may apply for additional federal funds once the EIS process is complete.

The Clinton Ferry Advisory Group includes Hoogerwerf, Dean Enell and Bruce Mulvey. Call Hoogerwerf at 579-1505 for information or visit the Mukilteo Multimodal Project website. He also serves as co-chair of all the Puget Sound ferry advisory committees.

Islanders can ask questions about the preferred Mukilteo terminal site and other ferry issues  Tuesday, June 12, when ferry officials, headed by David Moseley, visit the Clinton Progressive Hall.

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