Coho ferry dock work in Victoria Harbour expected to start next month

Work could begin as early as Oct. 13 on new docks in Victoria Harbour for the Coho car ferry.

The project, which could take about 18 months and cost more than $10 million, will see Black Ball Ferry Line rebuild its docks, replace the dolphins and car ramps, improve U.S. Customs facilities and establish covered walkways for passengers.

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Black Ball CEO Ryan Burles said Oct. 13 is a tentative start, noting it still needs to get the Ministry of Transportation to sign off on design.

While the preliminary work could start at that date, the driving of new pilings into the sea floor of the Inner Harbour will not start until a week later.

Burles said the Coho will reduce its schedule to two daily sailings to Port Angeles, and with reduced demand for space on their Belleville Street lot they will be able to prepare the site for construction and pile driving.

At the same time, he expects the crane to be put together and pile driving to begin sometime between Oct. 18 and 20. Black Ball will continue ferry service through the build until Jan. 4.

At that point, the Coho will be in dry dock in Anacortes, Washington for two months for a major refit.

Burles said they will use that two-month window to drive piles, move the U.S. Customs building and put a new deck and car ramp in place.

The company will also be replacing a dolphin at its Port Angeles dock.

The work on the docks will continue until May, when it is suspended as the Coho ramps up for tourist season, and will resume in October 2016.

Burles said it’s hard to say when they will finish the job, as a lot depends on how much gets done between October and May.

“We don’t think we will need six months next year, but time will tell,” he said.

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