Clinton Beach dock receives federal funding for reconstruction

The dock has undergone unsuccessful repairs and was in danger of floating away altogether last fall.

The reconstruction of a deteriorating South Whidbey dock is on the horizon.

The Clinton Beach Dock, which is owned by the state Department of Transportation, is currently leased by the Port of South Whidbey. The dock has undergone a series of unsuccessful repairs over the years and was in danger of floating away altogether last fall.

In March 2020, the port applied for a grant through the Island County Regional Transportation Planning Organization to remove the existing floats, conduct planning, engineering and design work, and then construct a new dock utilizing as much of the remaining infrastructure as possible.

The port was awarded $319,000 toward this project from the planning organization in April 2020.

The grant is funded through Federal Transportation Administration dollars routed through the state Department of Transportation.

But the grant funding was unable to cover the removal of the existing floats and was reallocated to the planning and construction phases of the project, which will involve a new dock.

The port used money from its general fund to extract the troublesome dock floats. In December 2020, the port spent approximately $21,000 to have the remaining floats removed and disposed of.

The funds for the project, however, have not been authorized until this month.

As of July 22, the port was notified by the state that funding for the reconstruction project was authorized by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration to proceed with the preliminary engineering phase, according to Stan Reeves, the executive director for the Port of South Whidbey.

“The port will advertise and solicit requests for qualifications from qualified engineering firms in the near future with the intent to award a contract before the end of October 2021,” a press release stated.

A recent study looking at passenger-only ferry usage examined a route between Everett and Clinton, with the Clinton Beach Dock considered as a possible site for the connection on the Whidbey side.

The goal of the port’s project is to build a new dock where this would be possible, with the potential to support electric-powered vessels.

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