Flagship state ferry terminal building opens on Seattle waterfront – just in time for Thanksgiving travel

Colman Dock entry building, pedestrian walkway set to debut spring 2023

SEATTLE ­– Washington State Ferries started welcoming Bremerton and Bainbridge Island route passengers to the newly completed terminal building at Colman Dock today, Nov. 18.

Five years into construction, riders have watched the new structure go up with their own eyes. WSF has maintained ferry service throughout the $467 million Seattle Multimodal Terminal at Colman Dock Project.

Built in stages as the old terminal building was torn down, the new building improves safety by meeting current seismic standards and improves passenger circulation and queuing. In addition to striking views of Elliott Bay, here's what passengers can expect with the completed terminal building:

  • More than 20,000 square feet of passenger space, providing room for 1,900 ferry riders.
  • Twelve turnstiles for each route including six that are ADA-accessible.
  • Seating capacity of 362 seats—triple the amount of the old terminal building.
  • Restroom capacity will double from the existing one-third of the building.
  • Ticket purchasing is still available online, at the ticket booth on the temporary walkway and at kiosks inside the terminal building.
  • Elevator access is near the passenger only ferry terminal, as it currently is.

"Just in time for busy Thanksgiving travel, we are thrilled to welcome passengers on two of our busiest ferry routes into the completed Colman Dock terminal building and reach yet another milestone for the Colman Dock project," said David Sowers, director of terminal engineering. "We thank customers for their patience during construction and hope they enjoy the new space, amenities and expansive views of Elliott Bay and the downtown Seattle skyline." The completed project can accommodate 10 million passengers annually. A new video previews the terminal building.

The Colman Dock multimodal project includes numerous transportation connections nearby, including an elevated pedestrian connection, regional bicycle path, King County Metro buses on Alaskan Way, fast ferries for King County and Kitsap Transit, and Sound Transit's light rail stations just blocks away on Third Avenue.

When the project is complete in spring 2023, passengers will benefit from the following improvements:

  • A new entry building along Alaskan Way and the elevated pedestrian connector into the terminal building.
  • Additional elevator access from Alaskan Way, with additional passenger drop-off and pick-up in front of the new terminal building.
  • Seamless access to the ferry terminal above ground. Passengers will be able to reach ferries without stairs or elevators from downtown Seattle by taking the elevated walkway above Marion Street, going through the entry building, crossing the elevated connector, and arriving at the terminal building.

In addition, there will be a total of 10 food and retail vendor locations in the terminal building and in the rest of the project. These will be available once the project is complete and vendor buildouts are finished.

Crews began construction work in 2017 to replace the seismically vulnerable terminal at Colman Dock. Since that time, the project has:

  • Built a new passenger-only ferry terminal on the south side of Colman Dock for the King County Water Taxi and Kitsap Transit Passenger Only Ferry boats. (Aug. 2019)
  • Built an elevated walkway between the terminal building and the passenger-only ferry facility. (Sept. 2019)
  • Completed a new overhead loading passenger structure for slip 3 on the north end of the terminal. (Sept. 2019)
  • Replaced the timber trestle portion of the dock with a new concrete and steel trestle for vehicle staging and loading/unloading. (Aug. 2021)

WSF, a division of the Washington State Department of Transportation, is the largest ferry system in the U.S. and safely and efficiently carries tens of millions of people a year through some of the most majestic scenery in the world. For breaking news and the latest information, follow WSF on Twitter and Facebook.

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