Updated as of 7/29/2021

*Project Update*

Terminal renovations are progressing as scheduled. Limited site work continues, mostly near the entrance of the site, to complete necessary utility work in the next month prior to the start of demolition of portions of the POT (Portland Ocean Terminal) building. This is in preparation for the construction of a circulation loop near the garage to redirect traffic entering the site.

Work on the terminal building itself has progressed nicely and all extra structural framing and bracing should be complete by early August. The concrete floor for the second story has been placed and framing for the interior and exterior walls is being installed. Over the next month, additional wall board will go up and new block work may begin.

The marine work is advancing more slowly to minimize impacts on operations during the busy summer season. Work on the abutment of the pier extension is ongoing as well as limited utility work to support the rapid charger and side loading ramp for the new car ferry. We expect additional pile work to begin in the fall.

Please continue to abide by all construction signage in place to help ensure the safety of all visitors and the construction teams. Assuming no changes to the schedule, the site and building work should be completed by the end of this year and marine work should be completed by summer 2022.

Additional project information can be found below. We encourage anyone with further questions or feedback to email moc.s1627780617enily1627780617abocs1627780617ac@tc1627780617ejorp1627780617noita1627780617voner1627780617lanim1627780617ret1627780617.

Project Background

The Casco Bay Island Transit District’s (CBITD) ferry terminal on the Maine State Pier was built in 1988 when Casco Bay Lines moved from its cramped location on Custom House Wharf. At that time, CBITD was serving a much smaller ridership; the waterfront was largely a working waterfront and the island populations were comprised of fishermen and mostly local residents. The major points of departure were Gates 1, 2, and 3 and the boats were between 65’ and 80’ in length.

Much changed between 1988 and 2011. By 2011, nearly one million people were using the ferry service each year, more than double the number the terminal was designed for in 1988. An additional 50,000 people flowed through the terminal each year, using the restrooms, visiting the Maine State Pier, and sightseeing along the waterfront. The amount of freight being handled by the ferries increased dramatically and vehicular traffic on the east side of the terminal was congested all summer long. Island visitors that used to come only for the summer were now visiting during the fall and winter weekends as well. During this timeframe, much of the fleet was updated. These new vessels had greater capacity in order to better handle the increased traffic. The longer vessels, ranging from 100’ to 110’ in length, had an impact on the increasingly crowded pier and, even with the addition of Gate 4, there was little room for the fleet to adequately berth.

Phase I

In the fall of 2011, using a variety of funding sources CBITD embarked on an RFP selection process to obtain a design team to evaluate the existing facility and make recommendations for changes that would enhance both operations and passenger experience. The primary Terminal Renovation Project Renderingdesign team members selected were Scott Simons Architects; Fay, Spofford & Thorndike (now Stantec); and Woodard & Curran along with other sub-consultants to round out the effort. Their Phase I design included improvements to the car ferry berth, fender system rehabilitation and the addition of the new terminal waiting area and ticket office. Other opportunities for improvement were identified but not included in Phase I due to funding restrictions.

Phase I of the terminal renovation was substantially completed and the new waiting area and ticket office opened for business in August of 2014.

Phase II

With support from U.S. Senators Collins and King, as well as U.S. Congresswoman Pingree, Casco Bay Lines was able to secure the necessary funding to advance the Phase II work.

Phase II work includes adding a second floor over the existing administrative area, allowing many of the administrative activities to move up to open more space on the first floor to support operations and increased freight traffic. In addition to building expansion, the work will also re-condition much of the foundation system of the existing pier along with the potential to add length to the pier. This will allow for the realignment of some gates to better fit the current fleet and provide for additional berth space. The site will also be enhanced with changes to provide visitors with an improved experience as they arrive at the terminal, either on foot or in their vehicle. There is a proposed dedicated sidewalk through the center of the site to improve ease of access and separate freight operations from pedestrian access.


Phase III

To further improve safety and manageability of the increasingly commingled passenger, freight and vehicle traffic, a third phase of terminal renovations is necessary to expand existing marine infrastructure and complete outstanding marine repairs.

With support from Senator Collins, Senator King, Congresswoman Pingree, the State of Maine and partners in the region, Casco Bay Lines applied for funding through the FTA’s Passenger Ferry Program competitive grant for Phase III terminal renovations.

On August 8, 2019, the Acting Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, announced a $3.4 million grant for Casco Bay Lines from the terminal in Portland. With this final grant award, Casco Bay Lines has secured all necessary funding for Phase II and Phase III of this project.

Through an RFP process, Scott Simons Architects, Stantec and Woodard & Curran were again selected to lead the design effort. Design work for both Phase II and Phase III has been completed. Detailed design plans can be found here.

Work on Phase III  will focus on improving embarkation and de-embarkation from several gates, increasing passenger and freight queuing areas, and allowing for the opportunity to explore side loading capability for the heavily used passenger/vehicle ferry and expand covered waiting areas.

Together, these improvements are designed to enhance the overall long-term operational capabilities of the terminal. They are, however, restricted in their ability to address all current and future challenges by both the size and location of the property itself. In order to continue accommodating increased ridership and freight while providing a positive experience, Casco Bay lines depends on our dedicated and hardworking staff, as well as the patience and cooperation of all of our customers.

Next Steps 

The construction work for both Phase II and Phase III of the project will be conducted simultaneously, and Landry/French Construction has been selected as the construction manager. Noticeable construction activity began in December 2020, as we work to complete as much construction as possible during the off-season.

In total, we expect the renovations will take approximately 18 months to complete. While there will be no impact to core operations, and very limited disruption to the waiting room, ticket office or public restrooms during the renovation, we will communicate any anticipated impacts to our customers in advance here on our website and through this enewsletter.

Please reach out to moc.s1627780617enily1627780617abocs1627780617ac@tc1627780617ejorp1627780617noita1627780617voner1627780617lanim1627780617ret1627780617 with any questions or feedback related to the project.