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Foot-ferry terminal closed to passengers for next two months

By this morning, riders of the Port Orchard foot ferry will have walked across the aged former Horluck Dock for the last time, according to Kitsap Transit.

Wendy Clark-Getzin, the agency’s director of capital, said the old ferry terminal at the end of Sidney Avenue would be closed at the end of service Friday night, and will not see passengers again until its reincarnation this spring.

Beginning today, Clark-Getzin said foot-ferry riders will head a bit farther west to catch the boats off the Port of Bremerton’s guest moorage at the Port Orchard Marina, rented to Kitsap Transit while the old terminal is torn down and replaced.

Clark-Getzin said the area around the dock might be crowded and confusing over the next several weeks, as large construction trucks and other equipment take over the parking area near the Port Orchard Library, and the area surrounding the bus shelter will be closed intermittently.

Riders should be aware Kitsap Transit buses will be stopping farther back from the shelter — sometimes being rerouted around the closure — and it may take more time than usual to reach both them and the boats.

Signs will be posted to guide people through the area.

On Monday, crews will begin tearing down the old building and pier, then divers will help pull out all the old creosote pilings before the new structure can be put up.

Clark-Getzin a new terminal float is already being built in Tacoma, and is scheduled to be tugged up March 1, arriving in Port Orchard on March 3.

“That will be a big day,” she said, adding she is very relieved and excited to have the long-delayed and derailed project finally underway.

The hard part is far from over, however, because the project must go forward with barely another hitch if it is to be finished by mid-March, when the “fish window” begins.

Clark-Getzin said she hopes to have the project complete well before the deadline, but has worked in about a week of wiggle room just in case.

“If we can’t get it in by March 15, we’re in trouble, because we can’t step back in until July 15,” she said, explaining that the entire project is not scheduled to be done until March 28, but the last couple weeks of work will be outside of the water, and therefore not subject to the fish window.

When complete, the new facility will not only be “quite beautiful,” it will be functional as well, she said, meeting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards with steel supports and molded concrete walking surfaces, including a shorter dock with a longer gangplank that is easier to reach by wheelchair.

Kitsap Transit first started planning an upgrade of the foot-ferry terminal in 1997, but the reduction in transportation funds after the passage of Initiative 695 sunk the organization’s plans and forced it to cancel its design contract with Parametrix, a local consulting firm.

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