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What's that noise?

Night work begins on new ferry terminal

 

December 4, 2019

Photo courtesy of Madeline Coats

Manson Construction needs extreme low tides to build wing walls for the new terminal. The tide has to be several feet below the welding locations for an extended period of time for workers to access the location. Photo courtesy of the City of Mukilteo. 

Mukilteo residents should expect to hear loud noises from the new ferry terminal, 910 Front St., during the upcoming weeks.

The City of Mukilteo approved a noise variance application for work activities associated with the installation of structural steel components for the new Mukilteo Ferry Terminal building Nov. 22. 

Manson Construction, on behalf of the Washington State Ferries, requested the noise variance to conduct work that exceeds the noise limits established in Mukilteo Municipal Code. The application also granted approval for work outside of the City's approved construction hours. 

According to municipal code, "construction noise" means any sound caused by construction activity. This includes site preparation, mobilization, clearing, grading, assembly, erection, demolition, substantial repair, alteration, or similar actions. 

The code also lists hours for construction work only allowed between 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends/holidays.

Condition #53 of the Hearing Examiner meeting created more restrictive construction noise requirements. They changed the construction hours to end at 6 p.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. on Saturdays. It said no construction is allowed on Sundays and holidays. 

Washington State Ferries is required to request exemptions from the no-work times for unusual circumstances with a 10-day advance notice. The noise variance application was submitted Nov. 4. 

Manson Construction anticipates the source of noise to be from welding machines, hand-tools hitting steel, and engine sounds from the Derrick Crane. The welding machines are expected to be the loudest noise from the construction activities. 

WSDOT said these welding activities will occur during 24-hour work shifts for 16 non-consecutive days during extreme low tides to build wing walls. The tide needs to be several feet below the welding locations for an extended period of time for workers to access the location and ensure welds meet WSDOT specifications. 

Low tides are projected to occur between the hours of 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. during the Dec. 9 through Jan. 25 time period. Still, no work will be done on Sundays or holidays.

According to WSDOT, the noise will range from 70-80 dBA within 5 feet of the machine. Residents on the bluff south of the work area are approximately 600 feet away. The Silver Cloud Inn is about 1,500 feet away from the work area. Noise will naturally dissipate and decrease to 7-25 dBA at 600-1,500 feet away from the welding machine. 

To mitigate or reduce noise, Manson Construction will minimize the use of any loud equipment and turn it off when not in use. All work performed will be located in a small area offshore and noise will be partially shielded by the ferry terminal building that is currently under construction, WSDOT said in a news release.

Night work will take place from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. On Dec. 24, work will stop at 6 p.m. No in-water work will happen during the fish migration window, which begins in February. 

Photo courtesy of City of Mukilteo

The new path will be a paved sidewalk running along First Street, providing a safer way to access the waterfront. Photo 2: Manson Construction needs extreme low tides to build wing walls for the new terminal. The tide has to be several feet below the welding locations for an extended period of time for workers to access the location. Photo courtesy of the City of Mukilteo. 

Aside from night work, crews are working on all corners of the site--installing utilities and drainage on First Street; building the toll plaza and new passenger/maintenance buildings; and updating walls and sidewalks.

Nancy Passavoy, executive assistant for the City, said it is not safe to reopen the pedestrian path until early December.

"We apologize for the delay," Passavoy said. "We were aiming to reopen the path in October, but crews encountered an extensive amount of buried debris (old wood pilings) when installing the water and storm piles. This meant we had to make multiple changes to the area under the new holding lanes. Plus heavy rains in October caused their own delays.

When it opens, the new path will be a paved sidewalk running along First Street. Passavoy said it will provide a safer way to access the waterfront.

"We know this popular path is important to residents (and their dogs) who used the temporary path near the work zone until we closed it in March to begin work on First Street," she said. 

The terminal is expected to open in late 2020 and crews will then work to remove the existing terminal.

 

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