Port contributes $1.5 million to waterfront connector

Nov 28, 2018
Courtesy of: City of Edmonds Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector

The Edmonds Port Commission on Monday voted unanimously to contribute up to $1.5 million in construction funding to the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector project.

Port commissioners made their decision following a presentation and request by Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling

The $27.5 million bridge is a singe-lane structure designed to link Edmonds Street at Sunset Avenue to the Brackett’s Landing North parking lot.

With details yet to be finalized, commissioners said they will provide the funds when the bridge moves into its construction phase.

“The Port has been concerned about the waterfront safety problem for years,” said Port Commissioner Jim Orvis. He referred to safety concerns the Port and its tenants face, as well as the increased safety threat in the future.

“It took a determined effort by all stakeholders to find a solution. Mayor Earling assembled a task force of those stakeholders, including City, Port, Washington State Ferries, BNSF Railway, regional transit organizations, and Edmonds residents. They found an excellent answer that meets the need at reasonable cost and minimum environmental impacts.”

Port commissioners said that protecting the Port’s facilities, tenants and the thousands of visitors to the waterfront is of paramount concern.

The Port has been a consistent partner over the past 3-plus years on this project, having contributed $100,000 in direct funding for both the initial alternatives analysis and the process of developing alternative design concepts.

In addition, Orvis has co-chaired the Mayor’s Task Forces in both instances.

The bridge will serve as an emergency-response corridor, pedestrian and bicycle access, and potential vehicle off-load route for ferries stranded by stalled trains blocking the Main and Dayton street crossings.

The City said the bridge is a response to the mounting public safety hazard that the increasing volume of trains passing the Main and Dayton Street crossings pose to the Waterfront District and its businesses, residences, visitors, and the Port of Edmonds.

According to the City, most current data show that over 40 trains daily block these crossings for up to 90 minutes.

As train volumes grow over the next decade, and with the eventual addition of a second track, these two crossings will be closed upwards of four hours per day, rendering the Waterfront District virtually stranded when emergencies occur.

Fire and emergency medical response could be substantially delayed, posing an unacceptable risk, Orvis said, especially in light of the Port’s multimillion-dollar investments in facilities along the entire waterfront.

After extensive analysis, public engagement and recommendations from City Council, a reduced-cost, streamlined design concept was presented at the Council’s Oct. 23 regular meeting.

“To say I’m pleased with the Port Commission’s decision is an understatement,” Earling said.

“The safety of our Waterfront businesses, residences, visitors, and the Port itself are of the utmost concern to me and the City Council. The Port’s decision to contribute substantial funding goes a long way towards building a solid local base to help us secure the necessary federal matching dollars to make this project a reality. My thanks go out to the commissioners.”

 

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