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Dock work will put hole in ferries' day

"Expect Washington State Ferries officials to shut down the Southworth dock this fall every weekday for six and a half hours for two months while workers replace two wingwalls.The wingwalls, made from wood, act as protective bumpers between the dock and ferries. Officials say the aged pilings are nearly worn out and it's cheaper to replace them with steel structures than to preserve them. Contractors could begin installing new wingwalls Sept. 24 in order to finish the $1.2 million job on or before Nov. 22. According to officials, construction shouldn't last much longer than that because commuters would be overly inconvenienced and the onset of winter could complicate the work.After conducting a survey among Southworth ferry commuters, ferry system officials decided planned shutdowns-between 8:45 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. weekdays-are an acceptable compromise between commuter and construction needs.Brian Holling, a terminal-construction official, said two sailings will be shifted outside the closure period to accommodate morning and afternoon commuters.After a 7:55 a.m. departure time for Southworth, there usually isn't another sailing until 9:15 a.m. Officials say they'll knock the 9:15 run back to 8:30. Unlike the original run, the 8:30 boat will travel from Southworth to Fauntleroy, skipping the Vashon stop.Officials say they'll also bump up the 2:45 p.m. sailing from Fauntleroy-which doesn't dock at Vashon enroute to Southworth-to 3 p.m. That way, commuters won't dock at Southworth until 3:30 p.m., giving construction workers plenty of time to clear out every afternoon.Holling said the project, which could cost anywhere from $1.2 to $1.5 million, will go out to bid June 23."

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