Wharf work underway

Construction work on the substructure of the historic Coupeville Wharf is finally underway.

After nearly four years, construction work on the substructure of the historic Coupeville Wharf is finally underway.

The Port of Coupeville announced in a newsletter this month that the $1.4 million replacement and rehabilitation of dilapidated caps and piles supporting the wharf is currently ongoing. Port Executive Director Chris Michalopoulos said the work is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The driving of eight new steel piles will take place at the beginning of December. The wharf will likely remain open throughout the construction process and may remain open during the driving of the steel piles, Michalopoulos said, though he warned that the process will cause vibrations throughout the wharf, so it may not be the best time to visit the Front Street structure.

He said there may be a time when the wharf building is closed, though the causeway may remain open.

The port will also replace wharf fuel tanks in November while the substructure work is ongoing.

The port first applied for permits to complete the cap and pile replacements late in 2019. Due largely to an extensive backlog of project permit requests at the National Marine Fisheries Service, the permits were not granted until near the end of 2022.

The port received grants from the Island County Rural Economic Development Fund, the state Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation and the state capital budget for the maintenance project.

The substructure repairs are not the only capital projects taking place at the wharf. The building got a new metal roof this summer, which is expected to have a life of over 50 years and improved ability to weather storms. A massive wind storm in late 2021 caused shingles from the old roof to fly off the building, raising concerns about the roof that was already due for replacement.

After the substructure maintenance is completed, the next project slated for the wharf is seismic stabilization, according to the port newsletter.