The 14-mile $3.7 billion Sound Transit East Link light rail connection between Seattle and Redmond has started, a process that will last until 2023.
Construction worked kicked off this month on the demolition of buildings in the planned route, all preparing the way for a 10-station addition that will connect the International District in Seattle to the Redmond Technology Center, part of what will become a total 50 miles of light rail with southern extensions to Kent and northern extensions to Lynnwood also in the design and planning phases.
The East Link’s initial construction kickoff prepares the way for the project’s downtown Bellevue tunnel, a major stopping point for the route.
The construction work is phased along the route, kicking off at different times and different places, mainly through 2016 and 2017, in order to “maximize efficiency and minimize impacts on surrounding communities.”
The planed stations include Judkins Park Station in the center of the I-90 roadway on the westside near Rainier Avenue South; Mercer Island Station close to the Mercer Island Park-and-Ride lot, also in the center of I-90; South Bellevue Station located on Bellevue Way SW; East Main Station, a surface station at 112th Avenue SE and Main Street; Bellevue Downtown Station, a surface station at NE 6th St.; Wilburton Station, located just north of NE 8th Street and accessible by a new pedestrian walkway; 120th Station; 130th Station, which includes a 300-stall park-and-ride lot; Overlake Village Station adjacent to State Route 520 and north of the park-and-ride lot on 152nd Avenue NE; and Redmond Technology Center Station along SR 520 at the current Overlake Transit Center, a major transit hub with connections between public and private transportation services.
While crews start on the East Link project, Sound Transit work continues on planning for the Federal Way Link Extension south and the Lynnwood Link Extension north, both expected to open in 2023, and the construction of the Northgate Link Extension scheduled for 2021.
Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.