The new footbridge into Colman Dock is scheduled to open Sunday morning, allowing people to again walk from downtown Seattle onto a ferry without dodging street traffic.

When they arrive, they’ll enter the first one-third of a new Washington State Ferries terminal, to be completed in 2023. As part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct demolition nearby, a temporary steel-truss bridge was installed this summer across surface Alaskan Way. The city intends to replace this bridge by 2023 with a landscaped concrete lid, connecting to ferries and waterfront parks.

Crowds are expected Sunday because of a 3 p.m. Sounders FC soccer match. People are urged to arrive less than 15 minutes before departure.

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The walk-on bridge begins on a hillside at First Avenue and Marion Street, as before. From there it passes the Top Pot doughnut shop before bending south along Western Avenue, then west at Columbia Street toward the ferry dock.  After they cross over busy Alaskan Way, people will find a 24-foot-wide, partly covered passage toward the Elliott Bay shore and turnstiles. The old footbridge over Marion Street, attached to the viaduct, was demolished Sept. 6.

Colman Dock’s new terminal will lack restaurants and big waiting areas.

“It’s smaller, it has fewer seats,” said Ferries spokeswoman Hadley Rodero. “It’s more of a transit feel than the old one that had a lot of amenities. The idea is, folks can show up a couple minutes before sailing and get right on. It’s not meant to be a place where you can hang out.”  That’s especially true now when the partial terminal contains only 65 seats, intended for seniors and people with physical disabilities.


Riders are advised to buy tickets online, or use ORCA fare cards, so they won’t have to line up for a ticket seller or machine.

The new terminal is being built parallel to shore, so eventually Bremerton- and Bainbridge-bound riders can congregate in distinct areas, Rodero said.

Because the road lanes between the Highway 99 tunnel south interchange and First Avenue South are blocked until Sept. 21 for viaduct demolition over Dearborn Street, car and truck drivers must navigate detours. But there’s more room on Alaskan Way alongside the terminal, because it was restored to four lanes, after losing two lanes to demolition this summer.