Work on BI overhead ferry walkway begins

Construction is under way on the new $33 million ferry terminal walkway on Bainbridge Island.

A key reason for the change is the over 50-year-old wooden walkway would unlikely survive an earthquake.

The busiest walkway in the Washington State Ferries system with 3.2 million walk-ons a year before COVID will be replaced with a safer wider, concrete and steel path built to seismic code. The project will also replace outdated mechanical and electrical parts on the loading bridge.

WSF officials say the majority of work will be done while service continues. On three off-peak season weekends passengers will load via the car deck for work. For six days the ferries will not be able to carry vehicles as the walkway spans are installed. There will be limited one-boat ferry passenger-only service at that time. Another ferry will be added to the Kingston route for rerouted vehicles.

The new walkway is set to open in early fall 2023, with the old one demolished right after and the project complete by early 2024. Federal and state funds are paying for the project.

Public outreach in 2018 led to the following changes:

•Windows on both sides of the walkway and intermittent gaps in walls will allow air to flow with energy-saving natural ventilation.

•Clear glass windows will allow for nicer views.

•Flooring is a non-slip concrete surface.

•Overhead infrared heaters will be installed to add comfort during cold weather.