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Washington State DOT’s Colman Dock Project Wins Regional America’s Transportation Award

by: Jessica Hoover
Seattle Multimodal Ferry Terminal at Colman Dock (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)
Seattle Multimodal Ferry Terminal at Colman Dock (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)
Seattle Multimodal Ferry Terminal at Colman Dock (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)
Seattle Multimodal Ferry Terminal at Colman Dock (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)
Seattle Multimodal Ferry Terminal at Colman Dock (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)
Seattle Multimodal Ferry Terminal at Colman Dock (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)
Seattle Multimodal Ferry Terminal at Colman Dock (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)
Seattle Multimodal Ferry Terminal at Colman Dock (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)
A Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) project won a regional award in the 2023 America’s Transportation Awards competition, created by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The competition recognizes state departments of transportation (DOTs) for making a difference in their community, with each project falling into one of three categories: Quality of Life/Community Development, Operations Excellence, and Best Use of Technology & Innovation.

“In addressing the transportation challenges of today and tomorrow, state DOTs demonstrate a strong determination to bring innovative solutions to their communities,” said Jim Tymon, Executive Director of AASHTO. “The America’s Transportation Awards program serves as a testament to their endeavors, and I am excited to kick off the regional awards with WASHTO’s pioneering projects. These projects play a vital role in improving safety, enhancing mobility, and revitalizing transportation resources for drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit customers alike.”

Twenty projects in the Western Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (WASHTO) region were nominated by DOTs for this year’s competition. The following project in the Pacific Builder & Engineer area won a regional America’s Transportation Award.

Seattle Multimodal Ferry Terminal at Colman Dock Project (Quality of Life/Community Development, Large Category)
Supporting transportation across Puget Sound between downtown Seattle and communities in Kitsap County and the Olympic Peninsula, Colman Dock is the largest and busiest ferry terminal in the Washington State Ferry system, serving more than 10 million riders per year. Located on Seattle’s waterfront, the terminal contributes significantly to the local tourism industry and supports essential commuter and freight transportation. Colman Dock serves as an extension of the state's highway system, connecting people to jobs, businesses, and recreational activities on both sides of Puget Sound.

Prior to this project, Colman Dock had become seismically deficient over its nearly 60-year lifespan, rendering it increasingly susceptible to earthquake damage. Recognizing the need for a transformation, WSDOT undertook the project to replace the aging dock and modernize the terminal to better accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers and to promote economic growth. The updated Colman Dock is designed to address safety concerns, enhance operational efficiency, and withstand seismic events for 1,000 years.

The new terminal, constructed at a cost of $489 million, features several key elements to enhance its functionality and safety. These include a concrete and steel trestle, a main terminal building and entry building with retail space, an elevated pedestrian connector linking the terminal building to the Marion Street pedestrian bridge, stairs and elevators connecting to Alaskan Way, a passenger-only ferry facility on the southern edge of Colman Dock, an elevated walkway connecting the terminal building and the passenger-only ferry facility, an overhead loading facility positioned on the northernmost slip, a bicycle entry and holding area north of Marion Street, and mitigation for additional overwater coverage.

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WSDOT selected the joint venture of Hoffman and Pacific Pile & Marine to take on the Colman Dock project as the general contractor/construction manager in fall 2015. The team’s extensive preconstruction planning ensured minimal disruption to the terminal's operations, allowing the flow of its 10 million annual passengers to continue smoothly in and around the active construction jobsite. The joint venture also committed to maximizing opportunities for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs), aligning with WSDOT's goal of achieving 9% DBE participation.

Next Phase of the Competition
The three highest-scoring projects from each regional America’s Transportation Awards competition (a total of 12 projects) will continue on to compete for two national awards, the Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award. In November, AASHTO will reveal the winners at its annual meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Top 12 projects in alphabetical order by state are:

  • Florida Department of Transportation’s Hurricane Ian Sanibel Island Emergency Access
  • Georgia Department of Transportation’s Historic 5th Street Pedestrian Bridge Rehabilitation Project
  • Illinois Department of Transportation’s Jane Byrne Interchange
  • Iowa Department of Transportation’s Adult Changing Facilities in Iowa Rest Areas
  • Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Mayfield Tornado Response
  • Maine Department of Transportation’s The Veranda Plan
  • North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Flood Warning System
  • Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Emergency Fern Hollow Bridge Replacement Project
  • South Dakota Department of Transportation’s U.S. Highway 83 Corridor Improvements and Reconstruction
  • Texas Department of Transportation’s Mobility35 Initiative to Address Homelessness Program
  • Utah Department of Transportation’s Teamed-Up for Transit: UDOT and UTA Partner to Improve Mobility for Local Community
  • Vermont Agency of Transportation’s Lamoille Valley Rail Trail
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