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Ferry terminal facing 3-week closure

"The Southworth and Fauntleroy ferry terminals will be closed to vehicle traffic for three weeks in October 2002 while crews complete $13 million in repairs and renovations.Washington State Ferries officials announced this week the work is crucial to continued service at the terminals, which connect Kitsap County to Seattle and King County. Both built around 1958, the Southworth and Fauntleroy ferry terminals are in serious disrepair. Construction is set for October because it is a midpoint between the summer holiday rush and the winter holidays. Crews can't work from March through July anyway because migrating salmon would become an issue.The good news is, crews can readily fix what needs to be fixed, but the bad news is, vehicle dependent commuters will be forced to dramatically adjust their schedules in the meantime.There are a few options available to them.Car commuters can always just forget about taking a ferry and drive from Kitsap County to Tacoma and Seattle, braving the crowded Tacoma Narrows Bridge part of the way.Or, if customers still opt to take a ferry ride workdays, then they can drive or commute by bus from South Kitsap to the Bremerton ferry terminal, where they can then board a car or passenger-only ferry to Seattle. The second ferry option involves hopping a passenger-only ferry from Southworth, taking that to Vashon Island and, from there, commuting by car or passenger ferry to downtown Seattle. However ugly, WSF route planners and customer service representatives want to hear from commuters to find out which option would be least disruptive to their already established daily routines.That way, WSF can commit the correct amount of resources to the most popular transportation alternative that best suits the commuting needs of their customers.For those who opt to take a passenger-only ferry to downtown Seattle from Southworth, via Vashon Island, that trip could take up to one hour and 30 minutes and cost WSF up to $1 million. WSF would place more (and larger) vessels on the Vashon routes to accommodate expected increases in ferry traffic. That cost estimate would be in addition to the construction costs.On the other hand, bus service to the Bremerton terminal and consequent trips from that dock to downtown Seattle, could take up to one hour and 50 minutes and cost WSF $250,000. While larger car ferries will be incorporated into the Bremerton-to-Seattle routes, there won't be any more trips than already scheduled.The construction projects scheduled at Southworth and Fauntleroy are an extension of work that started last fall at Southworth, where crews replaced timber wing walls with more long-lasting steel ones.That project cost around $1 million. The Southworth dock was closed for about six weeks to midday runs before reopening for the evening rush hour. The efforts have been split mainly because of funding constraints.The marine division of the state Transportation Department plans to construct a new transfer span, foundation, towers and dolphins. Dolphins are used to guide ferries into the dock. At the Fauntleroy terminal, workers are planning to upgrade the wingwalls, transfer span and the north half of the bulkhead.Last year, the Southworth-Fauntleroy ferries transportation 1.9 million vehicles and 1.4 million passengers. "

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