Ferry project set for key step 

Long delayed by funding shortfalls, the South San Francisco Ferry Terminal project could take an important leap forward today, with construction contracts for the structure’s gangway, pier and terminal likely to be awarded.

This step would put the project on pace for a fall 2011 opening.

The $53 million project, which is slated to connect passengers from existing terminals in the East Bay to South City’s bustling biotechnology sector at Oyster Point, was originally supposed to be open for business by 2005, but budget problems at the state level have consistently left it without a feasible financial plan.

With funding finally secured — $44 million in state transportation bond money was released in late April — the Water Emergency Transportation Authority, which is overseeing the project, will vote on approving contracts with two separate construction firms.

One of the contracts, for $10.5 million, is recommended by WETA staff to be awarded to Manson Construction Co. to build the ferry terminal’s float and gangway. The second contract, worth $8.6 million, is likely to go Power Engineering Contractors, which will be responsible for constructing the terminal’s pier.

Dredging in the proposed area of the terminal has already begun, and if the contracts are approved by the WETA board of directors today, major construction could begin in a matter of months, agency spokesman Leamon Abrams said.

The South City terminal, which is expected to carry 1,000 passengers per day by 2025, is the most developed of a series of new ferry projects being proposed by WETA. The agency wants to build new terminals in Antioch, Redwood City, Berkeley, Richmond, Hercules and Treasure Island, and expand the berthing capacity at the existing terminal in San Francisco.

The South City project officially became fully funded April 21, when WETA received $44 million in money from Proposition 1B, a bond measure that was approved by voters for transportation projects.

Along with voting on the construction contracts, the WETA board will also get an update on efforts to establish a shuttle
system that will connect fellow transit agencies with the South City terminal site. Along with the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance, a regional body, WETA has begun preparing grant applications seeking funding for the shuttle system, which could be operational by the terminal’s opening in fall 2011.

Full steam ahead

The Water Emergency Transportation Authority is meeting today to take the next steps in the South San Francisco Ferry Terminal project.

$51 million Cost of South San Francisco Ferry Terminal
$44 million State bond money for ferry projects released last month
$19.1 million Total expected to be approved Thursday in contracts for South City’s gangway, pier and terminal construction
1,000 Projected daily passengers using South City terminal by 2025
Fall 2011 Projected opening date of South City Ferry Terminal
2005 Original projected opening

Source: WETA

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Will Reisman

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