What’s that crane doing on the Edmonds waterfront?

This timber "dolphin" is being replaced by one made of steel. (Photos courtesy of Washington State Ferries)

For those who are wondering about the crane on the Edmonds waterfront, we found the answer: The Washington State Ferries is replacing a timber offshore landing device with a standard steel device.

The current device is old and needs to be replaced before it breaks and prevents ferries from docking at the Edmonds Terminal, the ferry system said. In maritime lexicon, these landing devices are called “dolphins.” They are free-standing structures in the water located a short distance away from the landing slip, and guide the ferry in like bumpers.

The steel structural framework for the new fixed steel dolphin is ready to be filled with concrete. When this component is complete it will form the top of the new dolphin.

Old dolphins are made a wood, but more modern dolphins are made of steel. The current dolphin at the Edmonds terminal is constructed with creosote-coated timbers, the standard when the terminal was built years ago.

According to the ferry system, the new steel landing device will be more reliable and last for several decades “thus ensuring safe, predictable and reliable ferry service to Edmonds.” Crews will also remove the creosote timber piles, which can be dangerous to aquatic life.

The $1.6 million project is expected to be completed in April 2012.

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