Pile driving work at Water Taxi’s future location could begin this month

Workers prepare the south side of Colman Dock - site of King County Water Taxis future POF facility - for pile-driving work. Photo courtesy of Washington State Department of Transportation.

Workers prepare the south side of Colman Dock – site of King County Water Taxis future POF facility – for pile-driving work. Photo courtesy of Washington State Department of Transportation.

Pile driving work will begin this month at the site of King County Water Taxi’s future location – another sign that we’re getting closer to a new, weather-protected facility for our loyal riders.

Washington State Department of Transportation today demolished our former facility on the south side of Colman Dock and could begin driving support piles for our our future terminal the week of Sept. 25.

Once complete in the fall of 2018, riders will be able to enjoy a covered, 8,000-square-foot terminal that will serve both King County Water Taxi and Kitsap Fast Ferry service. It will also eventually offer access to an elevated pedestrian walkway that will connect our riders to WSF’s Colman Dock terminal.

But before we can enjoy any of that, we’re going to have to put up with some noise. The pile-driving will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, for about five months.

Here is information about pile-driving activity, courtesy of WSDOT:

Pile driving work begins on south side of Colman Dock: Five months of pile driving to build the south trestle expansion begins as soon as Monday, Sept. 25. Neighbors and ferry riders can expect increased noise and vibrations from pile driving, air compression machines and other construction equipment. Most of the piles will be delivered to the site on barges, however neighbors may see some construction material delivered on large hauling trucks via Alaskan Way.

Work hours and duration: Pile driving work will occur Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. through mid-February, 2018. We have a certain amount of piles that need to be installed in order to meet our timeline. It is possible there could be some weekend work to make up for lost time. Neighbors and customers will be notified in advance of any weekend work.

What is WSF doing to reduce impact noise?: Installing steel support piles into the ground can be noisy work. We plan to minimize impact noise by vibrating the piles as deep as possible before using a loud 11-ton hammer to secure them into place.

Why do the pile driving work now? We’re on the fish’s schedule. There is a window of time each year between August and mid-February when salmon are not spawning or migrating through Elliott Bay. This timeframe is called a “fish window.” All of our in-water work, such as driving steel piles to support the new dock, will occur during this annual fish window in order to minimize disruption to migrating salmon.

Nearby construction: If you’re a ferry commuter or live near Colman Dock, you know there are several nearby construction projects within blocks of the Waterfront. Many of these projects could have lane closures that could cause delays for drivers aiming to catch a ferry. We’re all in this together. Thank you in advance for planning ahead and allowing plenty of travel time through the area.

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