New ferry dock gets 'soft' opening in Port Angeles
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Cars exit the MV Coho on Wednesday from the new concrete dock the Black Ball Ferry Line constructed in Port Angeles. A grand opening will take place later this month.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — Cars and trucks headed into Port Angeles from Victoria via the MV Coho ferry now can take advantage of the new ferry dock, the biggest portion of $4 million worth of planned upgrades, though work still remains before the facility is ready for its grand opening May 18.

“We're not done with the project,” said Rian Anderson, district manager for Black Ball Ferry Line, which runs the Coho. “There's quite a bit of finishing work to do.”

Since Tuesday, vehicles exiting the ferry on the Port Angeles side at the terminal at 101 E. Railroad Ave. have been able to drive over the newly completed concrete dock on the western side of the facility, Anderson said.

Previously, southbound traffic had been diverted into the northbound lanes after demolition of the old canopy over the U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection area started in November.

Officials wanted the new concrete dock, which replaced an aging wooden structure, open to traffic this week so their contractor could confirm that radiation detectors installed at the inspection area were working, which they are, Anderson said.

The grand opening Saturday, May 18, is set to coincide with the beginning of the summer's three daily runs instead of two beginning Thursday, May 16, marking the effective start of the tourist season, Anderson said.

Although the dock structure is complete, Anderson said, crews still have to paint lane lines and directional arrows on the dock's asphalt and install decorative fencing to help lead foot passengers from the facility to the street.

Temporary traffic cones are set up where the painted lines will eventually go, Anderson added.

“Once the whole area is striped, it will make it a lot easier for drivers coming off the boat to know where they're going,” he said.

A concrete sealer, similar to the substance applied to the Eighth Street bridges in Port Angeles, also will be added to the low wall surrounding the dock to help protect it from the elements, Anderson said.

The new concrete dock is slightly bigger than the old one, Anderson said, which will allow vehicles with a larger turning radius to exit the Coho more easily and likely lead to a greater flow of traffic overall.

“Hopefully, it will help improve the Coho's turn-around time, [that is] the ability to turn around more quickly during the summer schedule,” Anderson said.

Construction on the dock also included installation of new lighting and new canopies over the inspection areas.

For more information about the Coho, visit or phone 360-457-4491.

Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at

Last modified: May 01. 2013 6:07PM
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