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Bids due soon on Clinton dock project
"Whidbey Island ferry users will soon have to adjust to 600 days of construction that will take place at the Clinton ferry dock.Bids are scheduled to be opened July 25 for the second half of a major dock renovation project. The north side of the dock was completed last year, but separate bids were sought for the south side project.Terry McCarthy, acting director of Washington State Ferries, said Thursday night that the upcoming project is expected to cost about $15 million. This is one-third of our total terminal capital budget, McCarthy told the North Sound Ferry Advisory Committee at a meeting in Freeland. You're very fortunate to have this.Rick Brater, director of State Ferries' design office, told the audience of about 20 citizens that the south slip project will move the ferry slip further out from shore and add a fourth toll booth in Clinton.We'll start driving piles late in the fall, he said.Phase one of the project will include the dock extension and sea wall construction. Phase two will replace the old trestle, and phase three will add the fourth toll booth.Phase two will cause you the most grief, Brater said. The ferry dock holding area will be reduced to 40 vehicles as the old portion of the dock is replaced, forcing vehicles waiting to board the ferry further up the hill in Clinton.But if all goes as planned, commuters shouldn't be delayed, Brater said. We think we can maintain the schedule.Construction will take place under strict environmental controls. Work in the water will not be allowed from July 15 to Feb. 5 due to the fish window to protect salmon. Barges used in construction won't be allowed to moor in any one location for longer than three days in order to protect eel grass and other sea life.The project will also include rebuilding and moving further out the Port of South Whidbey's Recreational Pier, located next to the south side of the ferry dock. The pier, a popular place to fish for crab and sole, will be removed during the construction period.Several Clinton community members, including Mike Helland and Lynae Slinden, again urged State Ferries to purchase the upland property on the south side of the dock in order to provide beach access to the community. But McCarthy said that's not in the plan. He offered little hope that State Ferries will ever buy the property, and urged supporters to find other funding sources.On another front, McCarthy raised the possibility that three ferries may be serving the Clinton-Mukilteo route within the next 10 years, particularly if funding sought from the Legislature is granted during the special session now in progress.McCarthy said the ferry system anticipates receiving over $1 million from the state to begin designing a new two-slip ferry terminal in Mukilteo, at what he described as tank farm site number three north of the present single slip dock.State Ferries already has some federal money for the planning and expects more, McCarthy said. The Mukilteo terminal would be designed to use existing access roads and/or some future new road through Japanese Gulch.We'll know by Sunday if we can begin building out (designing) the Mukilteo terminal, McCarthy said. Three ferries will be feasible once both the Clinton and Mukilteo docks can accommodate two ferries operating at the same time. "