If you’re a drive-on ferry commuter between Bainbridge and Seattle, your life is going to be a wee bit hectic during the week of Sept. 7 and Sept. 13 when Washington State Ferries replaces the existing overhead wooden walkway at the Bainbridge terminal with a wider, safer concrete and steel facility built to current seismic code.

The $33 million pedestrian walkway project will reach its milestone over that six day span when work crews lift the new walkway structures into place on their concrete and steel pilings. The actual work will happen from 1 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 7 to 3 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13.

For those six days, WSF will use a one-boat sailing schedule and load only walk-on and ADA passengers via the existing walkway. There will be no drive-on passenger service between Bainbridge Island and Seattle. This includes vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, and electric scooters. WSF is planning to have additional staff on hand to assist with the anticipated uptick in walk-on ridership.

“We will make accommodations for emergency medical vehicles, in coordination with local emergency services,” said Suanne Pelley, Construction Communications Manager. “We are also exploring additional service options on other routes. The decision will be based on crewing availability and the overall service restoration plan.”

Ferry bridge BIVehicle holding becomes a staging and work zone

The graphic shows why crews will need the entire vehicle holding area to carry out their work. The four bridge spans will arrive by barge from Tacoma and will be rolled off into the ferry holding lanes. The longest span, sections 1 and 2 joined together, weighs 90 tons and measures 199 feet long and 18 feet wide. Over two to three days, all four spans will be lifted by cranes and set into place. The other three to four days are needed to erect and stage cranes and equipment, then dismantle and demobilize them.

BI WalkwayNo bicycles or scooters

WSF separates walk-on and ADA passengers from wheeled vehicles for passenger safety, which is why it cannot accommodate bicycles and electric scooters during the closure. “With higher pedestrian volumes, it is not feasible or safe for us to mix pedestrians with bicycles and scooters both inside the ferry and in the terminal waiting areas,” explained Pelley. “For those who want to store their bikes for use on either side of the route, the Kitsap Transit Bike Barn has 79 indoor and 33 outdoor bike parking spaces and we will provide a secure lock up area on the Seattle side or check into bike lockers. Another option is to walk on and use bike share in Seattle.”

Alternate routes for drivers

WSF is encouraging people who normally drive aboard to walk on and use public transit in Seattle or Bainbridge Island. If you need to drive during this time, WSF recommends planning ahead to using one of these alternate routes:

“We know this poses challenges for commuters and other travelers on this route,” Pelley added. “Working with the contractor, we strove to compress this work into a time frame that will have the least effect on the public. There is simply never a good time to close ferry service on this busy route. Please see the FAQs below for more information.

BI Walkway 2Parking squeeze

If you plan to park and walk onto the boat on Bainbridge Island, be aware that parking will be tight. WSF’s lot has 86 spaces, including 10 ADA stalls. Expect stiff competition for those spots. Adjacent paid parking lots offer more options. Kitsap Transit park and ride lots offer about 150 spaces. The streets of downtown Winslow are off limits to commuter parking.

For more information on the closure: Subscribe to project emails.

The interior of the new ADA-compliant passenger walkway will include operable windows with views to the water, seating, and infrared heaters for comfort while awaiting the ferry.