State upgrading ferry docks to earthquake standards in Vashon, Mukilteo

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VASHON ISLAND, Wash. – Right now Washington State Ferries is bringing all aging terminals up to seismic standards.

The Vashon Island dock is made up of old, rotting wood in need of a desperate upgrade. Construction began last week to replace all the wood with unshakable steel.

“Oh my goodness, we're lined up to Timbuktu!” Vashon resident Wanda Thompson replied with a laugh

Right now, the dock is off limits and locals have to wait for the ferry by lining up on the street.

“All you want is on and off. You don't need any shiny wood or pictures,” skeptical local Ken Hostetler said on the island Wednesday.

Officials say the inconvenience today could save lives tomorrow. The upgrades will bring the vulnerable terminal up to current earthquake standards

And when an earthquake comes -- if roads and bridges are out of commission -- guess what we’ll depend on to reach safer ground?

“If we need to start running instead of Clinton to Mukilteo, maybe we start running down from Clinton to Edmonds-Kingston area,” Washington State Ferries Port Captain Bill Michael explained Wednesday.

“Our ferries can refuel at the Navy facilities and will help get the Navy, National Guard. Whoever has to move, we're here to move them.”

Vashon is one of five docks to receive these improvements. Construction on Mukilteo starts Thursday.  Southworth, Colman and Fauntleroy are up next.

After the construction is complete, a large-scale earthquake drill is in the works for 2016.