The US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has approved plans to design and construct a new ferry terminal, which will eventually replace the existing 60-year-old Mukilteo Ferry Terminal in Washington.

A record of decision (RoD) to this effect was signed by the FTA allowing the Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division to proceed with the new ferry docking facility.

Though in need of significant improvements, the Mukilteo terminal is still a busy facility, which processed nearly four million passengers travelling between Mukilteo and Clinton in 2013.

“The project aims to deliver a safe and reliable ferry service in Mukilteo with increased efficiency and capacity.”

Washington State Ferries (WSF) interim assistant secretary captain George Capacci said: “After a decade of environmental review and collaboration with federal, state and local officials, tribes and the public, we’re looking forward to building a safe and efficient new terminal that opens the Mukilteo waterfront and improves access to transit.”

The new, alternative terminal will be located close to the Mukilteo Tank Farm, which is an abandoned US Air Force fuel depot site, one-third of a mile east of the existing terminal.

The project aims to deliver a safe and reliable ferry service in Mukilteo with increased efficiency and capacity.

Work under the project will include the construction of separate vehicle and passenger loading and unloading facilities, improvement transit connections for riders, mitigation of the ferry-related congestion and public access to the Mukilteo waterfront.

The cost for the relocation will be approximately $129m, of which WSF has secured $16.8m in federal grants. The remaining amount will be gained through a combination of state and federal funds.

The first phase of construction includes the removal of the tank farm pier; it is set to begin in the spring of 2015 and reach completion by autumn 2017.

The second phase is due to commence in 2017 and will run through to 2019, depending on the availability of funds.