Construction on Water Taxi’s future home hits milestone, on track for fall 2018 completion

Crews install falsework at the future site of King County Water Taxi Passenger Only Ferry (POF) facility on the Seattle waterfront.This year will be a big one for King County Water Taxi as we inch closer toward operating out of a new, weather-protected facility on the Seattle waterfront.

But first things first – we need to build it.

Our contractor reached a milestone last month when they installed the final pile under our future passenger-only ferry terminal on the south end of Colman Dock (check out these photos of the work).

While the Washington State Department of Transportation will continue installing piles under other portions of Colman Dock as part of its five-year renovation of the state’s busiest terminal, we can begin preparing the site and building the structure for the passenger-only ferry terminal.

Crews install falsework at the future site of King County Water Taxi Passenger Only Ferry (POF) facility on the Seattle waterfront.The next steps involve cutting the tops of the piles to the appropriate height and installing falsework. For those unfamiliar with construction, “falsework” refers to a temporary structure that, in this case, will support the trestle and deck. It also provides a surface for workers and equipment.

We are still on track to complete our future home by fall 2018. When finished, the 5,000-square-foot facility will feature:

  • Covered queuing areas
  • Ticket vending machines
  • Customer information systems
  • Accessibility improvements
  • Direct access to the Colman Dock terminal via an elevated pedestrian walkway

We hope our riders are as excited as we are about the passenger-only ferry facility, and we thank you all for your patience.

An aerial image of Colman Dock taken on Dec. 14, 2017.


8 thoughts on “Construction on Water Taxi’s future home hits milestone, on track for fall 2018 completion

  1. Brent,
    I really hope the new passenger-only ferry docks aren’t going to be made of wood and all that wood I see in the picture is temporary!

  2. Hi Joe,

    Thank you for the comment. The timber in the photo is called falsework, and it provides a temporary platform for access during construction. It will be reused throughout the project. The passenger only facility will be constructed primarily of concrete and steel, although some wood will be used in the interior of the shelter. Hope that clarifies things a bit.

  3. I know space it at a premium, and choices had to be made. Other than shelter what is going to be available on the dock? Any food vendors? Coffee stand? I’m also curious to know about the user experience like thoughtful signage, electronic and otherwise. Hopefully you’ve worked in the SmartCities space and with the county campus master plan.

    One element I’d like to see is a countdown clock for departures! I am running to the boat more often than not to avoid being left on the dock. Maybe some pleasant sounding nautical bells that ring when the boat is leaving from downtown or Vashon / W. Seattle respectively and or as a 30 second warning when the boat is departing. That would be absolutely clutch, and who doesn’t love nautical bells on the waterfront?

    I use the water taxi everyday, so I am very invested in this project. Still we should help make it a fun and easy Seattle experience for tourists who want to spend money on Alki. Thanks for the updates. Let me know if there is a forum for public comments.


  4. Hi Patrick,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding our future facility. I spoke with Greg Lerner, Shoreside Operations & Customer Service Manager, to get some answers to your questions and concerns.

    The facility will be a structure that will provide weather protection for passengers and feature many queuing lanes, along with electronic wayfinding to help with both our growing ridership and the anticipation of future routes docking there. A pedestrian bridge being built over the WSF car queuing lanes will provide direct access for passenger ferry riders from our facility to all the amenities of Colman Dock.

    We have no future outreaches for public comment planned at this time, as we organized and publicized several well-attended outreach events during the design process. At this point, we are in the construction phase. We also have no plans for a countdown clock, but it’s safe to say that – with a 99 percent on-time performance rate for the system – you can pretty much count on the boat leaving on time. Actually, it’s something for which we’re extremely proud! We encourage riders to plan accordingly, as our priority is to get you on the vessel and to your destination safely.

    I hope that addresses your concerns. Thanks again for your thoughts!

  5. Brent,

    Yes, the boats do run like clockwork, hats off to the crew for that. Thanks for getting back to me on these requests. As Greg knows I am more than happy to keep asking questions. It’s a great service, I know a lot of people who are excited about the new dock.


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