Survey says: Go with South Point-to-Lofall ferry route

Kingston-Port Ludlow route places second

After a review of both water shuttle route options and almost 4,000 survey responses, the Washington State Department of Transportation is moving forward with plans to use the South Point-to-Lofall passenger-only water-shuttle route during the upcoming May-June 2009 bridge closure while the Hood Canal Bridge is further retrofitted and its eastern half replaced.

“The level of public participation in this process has been amazing,” said Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond. “Ultimately, the public opinion lined up with everything we know about the costs, the risks, and the facts and figures for the South Point to Lofall route.”

The South Point-to-Lofall water shuttle plan can transport 600 people an hour, offers service every 30 minutes and has supporting transit connections to local communities as well as the 1,500 stall park-and-ride lots at Shine Pit and Port Gamble, according to WSDOT. The South Point-to-Lofall plan was approved by the Peninsula Regional Transportation Policy Organization in 2002.

The Port Ludlow-to-Kingston water shuttle plan would have transported 450 people an hour, offered service every 45 minutes and supported transit connections to local communities as well as 535 parking spaces at park-and-ride lots at the Port Ludlow Marina and the Ludlow Cove development and 590 parking spaces at the Port of Kingston, Bayside Community Church and George’s Corner, WSDOT stated.

When construction expenses and closure-related costs for the community were calculated for the two options, the net difference was $1 million.

Nearly 4,000 survey responses were received, with 42 percent saying that South Point to Lofall met user needs better, according to WSDOT. The proposal for Port Ludlow to Kingston garnered support from 32 percent of respondents. Twenty-six percent indicated neither option would help them during the closure.

Survey respondents said their top priority is a reliable crossing schedule and top concern is being inconvenienced or late. The South Point-to-Lofall option addresses these issues by using two boats to maintain a 20-minute schedule and 40-minute service even with one boat.

Complete results of the survey and information on the bridge project is at www.HoodCanalBridge.com.

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