Upgrading Terminal 5: Port Commission approves $5 million first step

The Port of Seattle‘s westernmost cargo terminal is one step closer to a possible quarter-billion-dollar modernization project. The first step toward upgrading half-century-old Terminal 5 in West Seattle was taken by the Port Commission at its meeting this afternoon – authorizing $4.7 million to be spent on planning, designing, reviewing, and almost everything short of building the project. As laid out in this slide deck prepared for the commission meeting (source of the image above), key elements of the proposal include:

• Crane Rails
• Fender System
• Structural Rehabilitation
• Power Supply
• Berth Deepening

Ships just keep getting bigger, the port points out, and most of its West Coast competitors (not to mention the East Coast) have upgrade projects under way to handle the changes. “If we don’t stay competitive, we go out of business,” observed commissioner John Creighton at today’s meeting. Though construction is not likely to start for two years, Terminal 5 will be closed starting this summer, with its cargo operations (via Eagle) moving east to Terminal 18, as reported by KING 5 last week and explained in a Port announcement. Another major point, included in this memo prepared for today’s meeting: The port has not figured out where the $180 million to $250 million for the full project would come from. But with today’s vote, design and planning begins.

P.S. We’ll be following up on a few side points of this – including what the almost-immediate closure of Terminal 5 means for local truck traffic.

10 Replies to "Upgrading Terminal 5: Port Commission approves $5 million first step"

  • cjboffoli June 3, 2014 (3:50 pm)

    I hope that “Power Supply” upgrades will include the ability for container ships to tap into electricity landlines as opposed to having to constantly burn diesel while they are in port. The Duwamish Valley has some of the dirtiest air in the region and is in the top percentiles in the country for airborne toxics.

  • s_bigdog June 3, 2014 (5:41 pm)

    wow about time! that whole terminal operation needs work from security to port operations!!

  • Jim June 3, 2014 (7:22 pm)

    This is not good for West Seattle. More cranes, more noise, more pollution, more trucks …….

  • wscommuter June 3, 2014 (11:22 pm)

    Jim, I think you are mistaken. This is not bad for West Seattle. Not more cranes; just new/bigger cranes, so we can receive the larger vessels that can’t get through the Panama Canal, even after the expansion there.

    The Port has to stay current or die. Port jobs are high-paying, union jobs that support our economy. And the redevelopment of T5 will mean more containers on trains, versus trucks, which is also good for all of us.

  • artsea June 4, 2014 (6:34 am)

    Over the years, I’ve read a few times that the Port is not self-supporting and relies on our taxes to keep it going. If true, something’s wrong there.

  • Neighbor June 4, 2014 (8:11 am)

    @wscomunter-this only good if the ships do plug in and the trains respect the fact that there are neighborhoods where people have a basic human right to a full night sleep. The amount particulate and toxins from these ships are harming our community and yet the port continues business as usual even when better practices are out there. The noise from the damn trains awaken entire neighborhoods all night long…

    I also hope that we as taxpayers aren’t blowing 5 million on a design that cannot withstand the rising oceans. We know what is coming yet pretend as though it’s still up for debate.

  • Jim June 4, 2014 (8:45 am)

    wscommuter (you are probably a Port PR person), you are putting out misinformation.

    – We now have six skinny cranes at T-5. The plan is for 12 giant cranes. We will have a wall of steel on our skyline.

    – More trains alright (and all the associated noise and pollution), and also more trucks in and out to T-5. That’s why the city is developing the new truck corridor.

  • Jim June 4, 2014 (8:48 am)

    artsea – You are correct. The Port is going to pour our tax dollars into a declining business model. Look at how idle the cranes are in the other Terminals. And they ARE already able to handle the larger ships.
    This is a long-term maneuver to move the ship traffic from the waterfront area to West Seattle.

  • Oreally June 4, 2014 (11:03 am)

    They never completed the first round of Terminal 5 a lot which was built on City land and without permit. Those train tracks you speak of where built with no permits om City land they did not have to pay for!

  • BlairJ June 4, 2014 (12:24 pm)

    It would be interesting to hear what the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has to say about ships and trains idling at the Port. They have a specific online complaint form for ship smoke.

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