Coupeville dock work to shut down ferry from Port Townsend for two days in November

Washington State Ferries is also suspending reservations for a third day in case construction work takes longer than expected.

PORT TOWNSEND — Work planned Nov. 5-6 on the Whidbey Island state ferry dock will shut down ferry travel between Port Townsend and Coupeville those two days.

Washington State Ferries is suspending reservations for Nov. 7 in case construction work takes longer than expected.

“We don’t anticipate that happening, but it’s just in case,” said Ian Sterling, public information officer for the state ferries system.

Work crews will reinforce the pillars on the Coupeville dock to make it strong enough to survive seismic activity, Sterling said.

Alternate routes to and from the Olympic Peninsula are the Bainbridge or Bremerton ferries to and from Seattle or driving the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

While doable, the routes do add hours to a trip.

Alternate routes

“We’re trying to let people know as soon as possible so they can plan alternate routes,” Sterling said, “which they can do, but we know it is an inconvenience.”

Concerns over what this closure could mean for Port Townsend, which relies heavily on tourists coming over on the ferry, were addressed in initial talks earlier this year, according to Sterling.

“We did our initial outreach in March and April,” Sterling said. “We talked with the chambers of commerce in both towns” — Port Townsend and Coupeville — “in order to find a weekend that was the least impactful.”

Sterling said they wanted to ensure they were not disrupting any of the festivals on Whidbey Island and in Port Townsend.

He said there were a few weekends in November that were discussed but it was a group decision to settle on the first weekend in November.

Craft fair

However, Port Townsend will host an annual Holiday Craft Fair that weekend at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We talked to the chambers of commerce and some people from the city and that was the weekend everyone agreed was historically the slowest,” Sterling said.

Sterling said the construction couldn’t be put off much longer.

“It’s basically so the dock doesn’t fall into the water during an earthquake,” Sterling said.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

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