Project updates: East Link Extension

Mar 27, 2017

Getting across Lake Washington

As part of the East Link light rail extension, Sound Transit is doing something that’s never been done before – placing light rail on a floating bridge. To safely transition light rail vehicles from the I-90 land bridge to the floating bridge, engineers and designers had to consider a number of factors including six different ranges of motion from Lake Washington: up and down, back and forth and side to side.

Rendering of track bridge technology on the I-90 floating bridge

Rendering of track bridge technology on the I-90 floating bridge

What did we do?
To come up with a solution, Sound Transit designed and tested a “track bridge.” The track bridge includes having the rails rest on a series of bearings and plates allowing them to move with changing lake levels and bridge movements. Sound Transit partnered with Parsons Brinckerhoff and Jesse Engineering of Tacoma to design and build two full-scale prototypes. The materials for the track bridges can be found “on the shelf,” eliminating the need for custom materials.

Passing the Test
The two track bridge prototypes, along with two Link light rail vehicles, were shipped for testing to the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colo. Once there, Sound Transit was able to mimic the forces and movements the track bridges will experience during normal and extreme conditions.

After collecting more than 500 channels of data during each light rail vehicle pass, the track bridges passed all critical test criteria with the ability to provide safe and comfortable light rail operations at planned speeds up to 55 mph the maximum operating speed for Link light rail.

Photo of track bridge testing at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado

Testing the track bridge at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, CO.

Want to learn more? Click here to check out a video detailing this cool technology.

Mar 15, 2017

Utility work on 110th Ave NE and NE 2nd St

Construction crews have completed the water main replacement at the intersection of 110th Avenue Northeast and Main Street and are preparing to shift efforts one block north. Beginning as early as Saturday, Mar. 18, crews will move the work zone to 110th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 2nd Street to continue the water main replacement.

Water main traffic control map

What to expect

  • The initial work will require the closure of all lanes on Northeast 2nd Street in the work area (illustrated in red in the map) and a lane on 110th Avenue Northeast for approximately three weeks.
  • North and southbound traffic will be permitted on 110th Avenue Northeast around the work area. Detours will be in place to aid motorists around the Northeast 2nd Street closure.
  • Signage and cones will help direct motorists safely through the work area with a flagger present during daytime hours.
  • The on street parking on the west side of 110th Avenue Northeast near ToysRUs will be unavailable during the closure.
  • Access to residences and businesses will be maintained.
  • Additional closures will be necessary on 110th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 2nd Street in different configurations following the initial three-week period. More information will be provided as the work progresses.
Mar 2, 2017

South Bellevue Park-and-Ride service changes

King County Metro has issued rider alerts in advance of the March 11th service change. While system wide service changes take place on March 11th, routes serving the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride will continue to serve the bus bay located within the park-and-ride until the park-and-ride closes.

Following the closure of the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride, transit routes currently operating inside the South Bellevue Park-and-Ride, will no longer pull into the park-and-ride. Instead, routes will serve stops located on Bellevue Way SE, adjacent to the closed park-and-ride.

South Bellevue park-and-ride service changes map.

We anticipate receiving a schedule from the contractor soon. Once the date of the park and ride closure is confirmed, it will be announced through a broad range of outreach activities, including East Link construction alerts.

Feb 27, 2017

East Link tunnel excavation is underway in downtown Bellevue

Behind the construction sound wall, crews are busy excavating at the south tunnel portal site located at 112th Avenue Northeast and Main Street. A video of the construction progress at the the tunnel portal and route through downtown Bellevue can be viewed here.

Because of the short tunnel length (approximately 2,000 feet long, or approximately one-third of a mile), and to minimize impact on neighboring homes and businesses, Sound Transit is constructing the tunnel using the Sequential Excavation Method (SEM) rather than a tunnel boring machine or digging a large trench that is later covered. SEM removes soil in small sections or bites using an excavator and cutting equipment. As soon as soil is removed, pressurized concrete, called shotcrete, is sprayed on the tunnel's sides, celling and floor. Lattice girders provide additional structural support for the tunnel.

SEM minimizes disruptions to surface streets, homes and businesses while also reducing noise and dust. Sound Transit used SEM to successfully dig its Beacon Hill light rail station. 

Sequential Excavation Method graphic

What to expect:

  • Approximately two years of excavation followed by finish work inside the tunnel.
  • Work began at the south tunnel portal and will advance north at a projected rate of 3 – 4 feet per day.
  • Tunnel excavation occurs on a 24/7 timeline with truck hauling occurring during daytime hours.
Feb 3, 2017

Utility work on 110th Avenue NE and Main Street

Beginning as early as Monday Feb. 6, construction crews will begin work to replace a water main at the intersection of 110th Avenue Northeast and Main Street in downtown Bellevue. Lane closures will be necessary as the replacement occurs.

Water main traffic control map.

What to expect:

  • The initial work zone (illustrated in red in the image) will require the use of two westbound lanes on Main Street and one northbound lane on 110th Avenue Northeast between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day for approximately four weeks.
  • The center turn lane on Main Street will be used as a northbound lane while the initial work zone is in place. One of the existing southbound lanes on 110th Avenue Northeast will be used to accommodate northbound traffic.
  • Additional closures will be necessary in the northbound lane of 110th Avenue Northeast and again on Main Street to complete the tie-in of the new pipeline. More information will be provided as the work progresses.
  • Flaggers, signage and cones will help direct motorists safely through the work area.
  • The on street parking adjacent to the work zone on the west side of 110th Avenue Northeast will be unavailable during the closure.
  • Access to residences and businesses will be maintained and impacts to water service are not anticipated to occur.
Jan 27, 2017

Continued lane closures on 110th Avenue NE

Next week, crews will begin construction of a dewatering test well along 110th Avenue NE near the Northeast 4th Street intersection in support of the downtown Bellevue tunnel construction. Tunneling requires the removal of water from the ground before tunnel excavators reach the area. Water is pumped from the area around the tunnel to the surface using a series of dewatering wells spaced throughout the tunnel alignment.

The dewatering test well will be monitored over the course of approximately two months and the data will help inform the location of additional wells that will be installed along the tunnel alignment. Lane closures will be necessary in order to build and operate the test well.

What to expect:

As early as Monday, Jan. 30:

  • Phase 1

110th Ave NE street closure phase one.

Construction crews will close the southbound right turn lane on 110th Avenue NE near Northeast 4th Street for approximately three days on a 24-hour basis to perform preparatory work for the well installation.*

  • Phase 2

110th Ave NE street closure phase two.

Following preparatory work, two southbound lanes will be closed for approximately two to three days in the same location for installation of the test well. This work will be performed between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the southbound thru lane and will continue on a 24-hour basis in the southbound right turn lane.*

  • Phase 3

110th Ave NE street closure phase three.

Following installation of the well, traffic will shift back to a 24-hour closure of the southbound right turn lane for a period of approximately two months while data is collected.*

  • A sidewalk closure may be necessary on the west side of 110th Avenue NE in front of the Skyline Tower during certain periods. Pedestrians should use the east side of 110th Avenue NE when a closure occurs.
  • During the preparatory and installation phase of the work, equipment will consist of an auger-style of drill rig, truck, signage and cones. Drilling and vacuuming is required as part of the equipment installation. Drilling will sound similar to a truck running with occasional hammering sounds. The vacuuming will make noise while soil material is being removed.

*Schedule is subject to change.

Jan 23, 2017

Lane closures on 110th Avenue NE

Correction: during the closure scheduled to begin today in the southbound lanes of 110th Avenue NE, left hand turns onto NE 4th Street will be prohibited during work hours. Right hand turns onto NE 4th Street will be allowed. That change is reflected in the text and graphics below.


As early as Tuesday, Jan. 24, Sound Transit construction crews will continue installing tunnel monitoring equipment along 110th Avenue NE between Northeast 4th Street and Northeast 6th Street. Lane closures are necessary for the work to be completed.

What to expect:

As early as Tuesday, Jan. 24:

Photo illustrating lane closures on 110th Ave NE in Bellevue.

  • Construction crews will close two southbound center lanes on 110th Avenue between NE 4th Street and NE 6th Street.
  • Work will take place from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is expected to take two to three days to complete.*
  • Southbound traffic will be prevented from making left-hand turns onto NE 4th while the equipment is installed.
  • Equipment will consist of a drill rig, truck and signage and cones. Drilling and vacuuming is required as part of the equipment installation. Drilling will sound similar to a truck running with occasional hammering sounds. The vacuuming will make noise while soil material is being removed.

Later this week:

Map illustrating closing of the northbound lane on 110th Avenue between Northeast 4th Street and Northeast 6th Street.

  • Construction crews will close the northbound lane on 110th Avenue between Northeast 4th Street and Northeast 6th Street.
  • Work will take place between the hours of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and is expected to take three to four days to complete.*
  • If you are travelling east on Northeast 4th Street, left hand turns onto 110th Avenue NE will be prohibited.
  • If you are travelling north on 110th Avenue NE and reach the NE 4th Street intersection, you will be required to turn either left or right. Continuing northbound will be prohibited.
  • Equipment will consist of a drill rig, truck and signage and cones. Drilling and vacuuming is required as part of the equipment installation. Drilling will sound similar to a truck running with occasional hammering sounds. The vacuuming will make noise while soil material is being removed.

*Schedule is subject to change.

Jan 11, 2017

Is your small business directly-adjacent to the East Link Extension light rail project?

Sound Transit wants to work with you to help build your customer base before and during construction. Sound Transit has partnered with Five Stars to provide strategic assistance to eligible small businesses. FiveStars is a rewards and loyalty marketing company that empowers businesses to self-promote and helps businesses further develop their customer base. Participation is voluntary and free.

Spots are limited!

Email eastlink@soundtransit.org if you are interested in participating. Eligible participants will be included in this pilot program on a first-come, first-served basis.

Participants will receive:

  • A tablet with associated software that integrates customer rewards at point-of-sale via the easy-to-use electronic platform: mobile app for customers, tablet with associated software for businesses.
  • On-call guidance and technical support on an on-going basis to help develop and implement successful promotions.
  • Direct access to customers for promotions via text, email and mobile application.

Stay informed

Notification will be provided in advance of major work activities and traffic shifts. Learn more about construction near the Bel-Red / 130th Station at a Meet the Contractor Open House to be scheduled in early 2017.

Dec 13, 2016

Construction in the Bel-Red area is right around the corner

Sound Transit is about to kick-off light rail construction in the Bel-Red area near the future Bel-Red / 130th Station. This section of East Link will connect the Bel-Red area to Redmond, downtown and south Bellevue, and Seattle. Light rail construction in Bel-Red is anticipated to take approximately three and a half years, followed by systems buildout, testing and integration. East Link will open for service in 2023.

Sound Transit is in the process of procuring a contractor to build East Link near the Bel-Red / 130th Station. Construction is expected to begin second quarter 2017. Work in this area (approximately between 124th Avenue NE and Northeast 20th Avenue along Northeast Spring Boulevard and 136th Place NE in Bellevue) will result in temporary road closures and detours. 

During construction, contractors will:

  • Widen 136th Place NE and Northeast Spring Boulevard to accommodate light rail in the median
  • Install pedestrian and bicycle amenities, including sidewalks and bike lanes, on both sides of 136th Place NE and Northeast Spring Boulevard
  • Relocate utilities, including power, water, sewer and communications
  • Construct light rail track
  • Restore the road on both sides of the light rail.

Maintaining the flow of traffic along Northeast Spring Boulevard and 136th Place NE

In order to build light rail in the center median of Northeast Spring Boulevard and 136th Place NE, the contractor will occupy space in the roadway. This will allow construction crews to work and maneuver heavy equipment. East of 134th Avenue NE, Sound Transit’s contractor may make Northeast Spring Boulevard and 136th Place NE one-way only to keep traffic moving during construction.

A one-way road through this area would:

  • Provide safe and efficient pedestrian, bicycle, motor vehicle and emergency vehicle access
  • Provide more reliable access to businesses with consistent signage for the duration of construction
  • Reduce average travel times for vehicles traveling through the area
  • Shorten construction in the roadway.

Sound Transit is working with the city on optimizing traffic signals, installing additional traffic cameras and using programmable message signs to keep traffic moving during construction. Signage will help motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists get around construction work zones.

Location of anticipated closures during construction

Map of various street closures and lane restrictions in the Bellevue/Redmond area.

Businesses near the Bel-Red / 130th Station received door-to-door visits from Sound Transit project staff over the past several months. To prepare for the start of construction in early 2017, staff shared information from Sound Transit’s Business Construction Toolkit and existing business resources.

Interested in meeting with a project team member to learn more about construction near you? Email eastlink@soundtransit.org or call 206-398-LINK to request a briefing.

Coordination with services and nearby projects

In advance of construction, Sound Transit’s contractors will coordinate with emergency responders as well as mail and package delivery services, including the United States Postal Service. Road closures will be coordinated with adjacent projects.

Typical construction work hours

Typical work hours in the City of Bellevue are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Nighttime and weekend work will be required with approval from the City of Bellevue.

Stay informed

Notification will be provided in advance of major work activities and traffic shifts. Learn more about construction at a Meet the Contractor Open House to be scheduled in early 2017.

Dec 6, 2016

Mercer Island station in the final design phase

Sound Transit has reached an important milestone! Plans for the Mercer Island station have completed final design and we are eager to share this update with you. During final design, project architects and engineers defined the light rail system and determined the technical specifications for the stations and track and will begin preparing for construction.

The East Link project team actively sought public feedback at key design milestones including the engagement of the Mercer Island Advisory Group. This input was shared with the project team and considered with attention to feasibility and design standards.

We've designed a narrated PowerPoint presentation to walk through the station's design, landscaping and artwork planned for Mercer Island. We have also updated our station fact sheet to reflect the latest design.

Stay tuned

Now that the station has completed final design, construction is right around the corner.

Sound Transit will host a 'Meet the Contractor' Open House in Spring 2017 as construction is planned to begin in the middle of 2017. More information about what you can expect during construction will be available in the coming months.

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