Heads up to riders: Upcoming Colman Dock construction work could affect the senses

The north side of Colman Dock is supported by old creosote timber piles (pictured here) from the 1930's. That entire section of dock will be demolished and replaced with a new concrete and steel trestle.

Photo courtesy of the Washington State Department of Transportation.

King County Water Taxi riders could soon begin hearing – and even smelling – the construction taking place at Colman Dock.

Beginning Monday, Nov. 26, the entire north half of Washington State Department of Transportation’s Seattle ferry terminal will be under construction. Crews will begin pulling out the old creosote timber piles that support the north trestle and replacing them with sturdy steel piles – work that could start as early as this month.

Nearly all of the seismically vulnerable dock located on the north side of the terminal building will be removed down to the water line and replaced with a sturdy steel and concrete deck, supported by large steel piles.

The pile pulling and pile driving work will take place during daylight hours through mid-February 2019. This work will be noisy, according to WSDOT.

An aerial image captured of King County Water Taxi's future Passenger Only Ferry facility and Colman Dock taken Oct. 17, 2018


Installing large steel support columns is noisy work, and will only be done during daylight hours.

  • WSDOT will minimize loud impact pile driving by vibrating the piles as deep as possible. Customers may feel ground vibrations at the temporary passenger-only dock at Pier 52.
  • In most cases, loud impact pile driving will only be used to drive in the last section of each pile so that it is firmly embedded into the sea floor.


As we’ve done in the past, the Water Taxi will offer earplugs – on both of its boats and at its temporary facility at Pier 52 – to help ease the noise for riders. The earplugs come with a string attached (no pun intended) to make sure you don’t lose one or both of them.

To request a pair, simply ask one of our attendants or deckhands.

Existing Ferry Service

During construction, full Washington State Ferry service to and from Bainbridge Island and Bremerton will continue to operate out of the southern half of the new terminal building. Elevated walkways will still connect to our passenger-only ferry dock and to Alaskan Way and the Marion Street Bridge.


Demolition of the existing dock requires Washington State Ferries to pull out smelly creosote wooden support beams and parts of the deck that have not seen the light of day in 70 years. WSF says doing this work during the colder, wetter months helps to minimize the odor, which is non-toxic and will be contained as much as possible.

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