PORTLAND — A $2.1 million expansion of the Casco Bay Ferry lines terminal will miss the original October completion deadline by about three months, said Scott Simons, the principal architect at Scott Simons Architects LLC.

The five-month construction project was pushed back to avoid the busy summer tourist season, putting the end date in late January or early February 2014.

“We decided to wait and start after Labor Day,” Simons said. “We believed it would have been very disruptive to the summer tourist season to have construction on the pier all summer long.”

Simons said the strategic decision to avoid the summer season came about during the planning process and it should make the construction go faster, as crews won’t have to maneuver around summer visitors.

Landry/French Construction Co. in Scarborough has been selected as general contractor.

The terminal project includes expanding the waiting area by 4,500 square feet and moving it closer to gates 4 and 5, which are used more.

The expanded terminal will allow people to see boats at gates 4 and 5 from inside the waiting area, alleviating congestion from people waiting outside. The terminal will also have newer restrooms closer to the ticket counter so employees can better monitor them.

Simons said the first phase of the project, repairing and replacing pilings on a portion of the pier, should be done by the end of July. That phase brings the total cost of improvements to about $3 million.

In the original timeline, the first phase was supposed to be completed mid-April, but Simons said that start date was also pushed back because some necessary construction materials were hard to come by after Hurricane Sandy hit in October.

The ferry terminal, which was built in 1988, has seen increased use in recent years with more passengers and freight traffic. Nearly 1 million people use the ferry service each year, more than double the number the terminal was designed to accommodate.

Casco Bay Lines owns five ferries and serves Peaks, Little Diamond, Great Diamond, Long, Chebeague and Cliff islands.

Karen Antonacci can be contacted at 791-6377 or at:

kantonacci@mainetoday.com