Seattle Multimodal Terminal at Colman Dock Project - What to expect during construction

January construction update

The entire north half of our Seattle terminal is now under construction and closed to vehicles waiting for a ferry. Crews are pulling out the old creosote piles that support the north trestle and replacing them with sturdy steel piles. The toll plaza and the vehicle waiting lanes south of the terminal building remain open while the north half is closed. 

The pile pulling and pile driving work will take place during daylight hours through mid-February 2019. This work will be noisy, and could generate a smelly odor

SR 99 Viaduct Closure information. There are no changes to Colman Dock access during the three-week Viaduct closure. The Marion Street pedestrian bridge remains open throughout the closure, and will not change until summer 2019. For more information on how to plan for #Realign99, please visit our ferry rider resources website

Changes for driverspedestrians, and bicycles  now in effect

  • Bainbridge Island on and off-loading for vehicles and walk-on customers now use the southern slip (slip 1). All drivers coming from Bainbridge Island to Seattle now exit at Yesler Way only.
  • Bremerton drive-on and walk-on customers now use the middle slip (slip 2). All drivers coming from Bremerton now exit at Marion Street only.
  • Northern slip (slip 3) is closed and will be demolished. 
  • New holding areas for bicycles and motorcycles on both routes.
  • New card reader on the south side of the toll plaza for bicycles.

Why are these changes needed?

  • Shifting the vehicle holding areas allows us to make the most efficient use of available vehicle holding space on the dock as construction expands through mid-summer 2019.
  • This change also allows us to offer full ferry service for millions of commuters and ferry riders while working to rebuild the aging and seismically-vulnerable Seattle ferry terminal at the same time. 

What else is being done to maximize room for vehicles waiting for the ferry at Colman Dock? 

  • Our contractor is using up to three barges at a time to operate very large construction cranes and stage necessary equipment that would otherwise need to be stored on the dock. We are working on four different sections of the project at the same time. Crews are building the new passenger-only ferry terminal and the first section of the new main ferry terminal building while demolishing the northwest corner of the main terminal building in use today and rebuilding the entire north half of the trestle, between the terminal building and the temporary passenger-only ferry dock
  • All of the work on this complex project is happening while we maintain full ferry service to and from Seattle. ​

Driving a vehicle onto the ferry

Map showing how vehicles enter the toll plaza and waiting lanes at Colman Dock in Seattle

Getting to the dock in Seattle

  • All drivers enter at South Jackson Street from Alaskan Way South.
  • During busy times, terminal attendants will direct emergency vehicles and customers with medical priority loading status, as well as registered vanpools and motorcycles to bypass the general queuing lane.

On the dock

  • Bremerton vehicle holding is in the middle of the dock closest to the terminal building.
    • All Bremerton drivers must exit at Marion Street.
  • No trucks over 40-feet long permitted on inbound sailings from Bremerton to Seattle.
  • Bainbridge Island vehicle holding is on the south side of the dock.
    • All Bainbridge Island drivers must exit at Yesler Way.

Priority access to the toll plaza

  • Registered vanpools, medical access vehicles and motorcycles have priority access to the toll plaza from Pier 48 during busy times.
  • Registered vanpools receive priority loading onto the ferry whenever possible. 
  • Bainbridge Island motorcycles queue in southern most lanes and load the ferry after bicycles. 
  • Bremerton motorcycles queue in the northern most lanes and load the ferry after bicycles. 

Tips for driving onto the ferry at Colman Dock:

  • There is a lot of congestion along the busy Seattle waterfront. Check traffic conditions before leaving, and be prepared to add up to 30 minutes of additional travel time to get to the dock. You can get information about current conditions on the Seattle/Bainbridge Island and Seattle/Bremerton routes on Twitter (@WSFerries) or, sign up for route alerts by email or text..
  • Take an off-peak sailing. Fewer people drive onto a ferry before 3 p.m. or after 7 p.m.
  • If possible, consider walking on the ferry instead of driving.

Riding a bicycle onto the ferry

Map showing how to get to Colman Dock in Seattle on a bicycle
Getting to the dock in Seattle on a bicycle

  • From the north: Use existing bicycle entry just north of Yesler Way from the sidewalk.
  • From Yesler Way: Cross at north crosswalk and enter via bicycle entry from the sidewalk.
  • From the south: Use west sidewalk of Alaskan Way or the toll plaza access lane.
  • Additional information about bicycle routes along the waterfront

On the dock

  • New! Bicycle card readers on both sides of the toll plaza. These card readers will remain throughout construction. Cyclists are allowed to use the bicycle-only readers because there is no surcharge for bicycles at Colman Dock. The readers only charge the walk-on passenger fare. All other vehicles, including motorcycles, must pay at least the driver and two-wheel vehicle fare at the toll plaza before queueing for the ferry in the holding lanes. 
  • New! Bainbridge bicycle holding in the southernmost lane (lane 1).
  • New! Bremerton bicycle holding in the northernmost lane (lane 30)  This lane will be shared with motorcycles, with line designating space for both modes.

Walking onto the ferry

Map showing how pedestrians get to Colman Dock

Dropping off or picking up passengers at the dock? 

  • The passenger loading zone remains in front of the main terminal building entrance on Alaskan Way between Madison and Columbia streets.

  Tips for walk-ons:

  • Even if there is a long line inside the passenger terminal building, you do not need to arrive very early to ensure a seat aboard the ferry. Arriving five or ten minutes before your sailing is sufficient. 
  • Check VesselWatch to see if your boat is on time, consider buying your ticket online in advance. 
  • There is plenty of room on the Bremerton and Bainbridge Island ferries to accomodate between 1500 and 2500 passengers. 
  • The only time we approach full walk-on capacity is during major events such as a sports team playoff or series championship games. 

Noise and odor expected during construction Fall 2018 through mid-February 2019

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.


Demolition of the existing dock requires us to pull out smelly creosote wooden support beams and parts of the deck that have not seen the light of day in 70 years. Doing this work during the colder, wetter months helps to minimize the odor. 

  • Customers may smell pungent marine odors caused by pulling out old support beams and exposing the underside of the existing north trestle dock as it is demolished and removed. 
  • The odor is non-toxic and will be contained as much as possible.
  • All creosote wooden beams will be stored on a barge and covered in plastic during non-working hours. They will be removed and disposed of regularly. 
  • It is normal to see a creosote sheen on the water while we are pulling out old creosote-treated piles. We will use an absorbent creosote sheen containment boom to surround the active worksite.


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

  • We will minimize loud impact pile driving by vibrating the piles as deep as possible. Customers may feel vibrations inside the terminal building and in the vehicle holding lanes on the opposite end of the dock. 
  • 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.
  • Disposable earplugs are available to customers at Colman Dock. Speak with a terminal staff member, or visit the information booth inside the terminal building, to get a pair., 

Protecting marine mammals and Marbled Murrelets during pile-driving work

We have a team of observers watching the water for whales, orcas, seals and other marine mammals as well as Marbled Murrelets, an endangered sea bird.

  • We stop all loud work such as installing steel piles when these animals are near Colman Dock.
  • We also stop work when observers can't see the surface of the water due to dense fog or weather. 

Terminal space is limited during construction through early 2023

March 2018 through Mid- 2019 

The passenger terminal building remains open, but it is much smaller and has fewer amenities. A smaller terminal building allows crews enough room to work as safely and efficiently as possible while we maintain full ferry service. Outdoor pile driving on the dock occurs  from August 1, 2018 through mid-February 2019. The passenger-only ferry dock, servicing the King County Water Taxi and the Kitsap Transit Fast Ferry, opens to the public in late fall 2018 or early winter 2019. 

The passenger terminal building remains open, but it is much smaller and has fewer amenities. A smaller terminal building allows crews enough room to work as safely and efficiently as possible while we maintain full ferry service. Outdoor pile driving on the dock occurs from fall 2018 through mid-February 2019. The passenger-only ferry dock, servicing the King County Water Taxi and the Kitsap Transit Fast Ferry, opens to the public in summer 2019.

The smaller terminal building maintains:

  • Ticket sales
  • ADA accessible restrooms 
  • Some seating
  • Limited food options
  • Information booth
  • Visual paging services
  • Full ferry service with no cuts to the number of sailings
  • Pedestrian connections to Alaskan Way and the Marion Street Bridge 

Primary construction activities:

  • Building the new passenger-only ferry dock for the King County Water Taxi and Kitsap Transit Fast Ferry
  • Building the first section of the new main passenger terminal building.

Summer 2019 until project completion in 2023

Map of Colman Dock starting in summer 2019

The entire former terminal building is demolished. Full ferry service to and from Bainbridge Island and Bremerton continues to operate out of the southern half of the new terminal building. Elevated walkways connect to the King County Water Taxi and Kitsap Transit Fast Ferry passenger-only ferry dock and to Alaskan Way and the Marion Street Bridge.