Project updates: East Link Extension

May 25, 2017

BelRed construction kickoff open house

Construction of the East Link light rail project is getting underway in BelRed. Join us at an open house on June 13, 2017 to learn more about light rail construction activities between 124th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 20th Street in Bellevue. The open house is an opportunity to view display boards and meet members of the project team that will build this portion of the East Link project.

Please join us to learn more about:

  • East Link and the Bel-Red/130th Station.
  • Early construction work, including utility relocation and demolition.
  • Maintenance of traffic, specifically on 136th Place Northeast and Northeast Spring Boulevard.
  • Construction timeline and activities.
  • How to stay informed during construction.

When: 5-7 p.m., Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Where: Highland Community Center, Bellevue
14224 Bel-Red Rd
Bellevue, WA 98007

May 19, 2017

Weekend closure of the Overlake Transit Center

In order to create enough space to build the future Redmond Technology Center Station, construction crews will reconfigure the bus and shuttle loop at the Overlake Transit Center. This weekend (May 19-21), construction crews will close the transit center and detour buses to nearby stops. Rerouting shuttles will allow crews to construct a new temporary bus and shuttle loop that crews will have in place this summer.

This image shows how transit, Microsoft shuttle service and pedestrians will flow through the site starting Monday morning. All bus and shuttle bays will remain in place.

Overlake Transit Center construction map
Click to view larger map.

What to expect this weekend:

  • Construction crews will start working at the Overlake Transit Center site as early as 7 p.m. Friday, May 19.
  • Bus and shuttle service will be detoured starting Saturday morning until Sunday night. All service is expected to resume as normal by Monday morning.
  • Work will include concrete cutting and breaking, grading and paving.
  • The contractor received a temporary noise variance for day and night work through the weekend.
May 19, 2017

BelRed updates: 124th Avenue NE to NE 20th Street

Sound Transit contractors continue to prepare the construction work zone for East Link in the BelRed area between approximately 124th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 20th Street. While demolition of structures within the Sound Transit work zone and pre-construction surveying get underway, additional upcoming activities include:

  • Staking or marking utility pole locations – Beginning during the week of 5/22
  • City of Bellevue Fire Department training exercise – Planned for the week of 5/22
  • Clearing trees and understory vegetation to prepare work zones for construction– Beginning during the week of 5/29
  • Fabrication of rebar for drilled shafts used in aerial guideway construction for the elevated portion of the alignment between 124th and 130th Avenues Northeast – Ongoing

Continue reading for more details on these activities.

Staking or marking utility pole locations

Beginning during the week of May 22, Sound Transit's contractors will begin staking or marking utility pole locations along Northeast Spring Boulevard, 136th Place Northeast and on 130th Avenue Northeast.

What to expect: 

  • Pole locations vary along the alignment and have been identified intentionally to avoid conflict with other utility infrastructure to be constructed as part of the East Link project.
  • Business access will be maintained.
  • Staking or marking of pole locations will take place over the course of a few weeks in sync with ongoing activation of Sound Transit's temporary construction easements on private property.
  • Typical work hours are 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturdays.

Sound Transit is working with power and communications utilities, Puget Sound Energy, Comcast and Century Link to coordinate installation of the utility poles. More than 30 temporary and permanent utility poles will be installed along the roadways in preparation for East Link light rail heavy civil construction activities in this area to maintain service to utility customers during construction. 

Minor earthwork and pavement restoration will be required. Sound Transit will contact property owners and tenants if excavation is required. Temporary poles will be in place for approximately 2.5 years until service is changed over to new permanent service that will be installed as part of this project. Pole installation work will require temporary adjacent travel lane closures and several passthroughs as utilities install wire and equipment on the poles. This work is anticipated to begin in mid-June, continuing into mid-summer. 

Further notice will be provided in advance of the start of utility pole installation.

Map of utility pole work for the Bel-Red station.

City of Bellevue Fire Department training exercise

Sound Transit is collaborating with the City of Bellevue Fire Department to provide an opportunity for fire department training exercises planned to take place during the week of May 22. During daytime and evening hours, fire department personnel will utilize the vacant buildings within the Sound Transit work zone that will be demolished as part of the East Link light rail project, to practice emergency access techniques. 

What to expect:

  • You may see Fire Department vehicles parked within the work zone.
  • Exercises in session will sound like a chain saw running.
  • Training is expected to take place during the daytime hours and into the evening.

For more information about City of Bellevue Fire Department training exercises, contact Marie Jensen at mjensen@bellevuewa.gov or 425-452-2064.

Clearing trees and understory vegetation to prepare work zones for construction

Beginning during the week of May 29, Sound Transit's contractors will begin clearing trees and understory vegetation in the Sound Transit work zone along the corridor in BelRed. Trees located where the light rail route or roadway will exist need to be removed in order to build the project. Sound Transit has worked closely with the City of Bellevue and Washington State Department of Ecology in development, review and approval of plans for clearing trees and understory vegetation. 

The preservation of trees to the maximum extent feasible has been a primary project goal throughout project design and into construction. Throughout the corridor, trees that are in close proximity to the work zone but not be negatively impacted by construction or light rail operations will be preserved with protective fencing. 

For the East Link project in the BelRed area from about 124th Avenue Northeast to Northeast 20th Street, Sound Transit is replanting trees in an approximate ratio of three new trees for every tree removed. Plantings are prioritized for areas as close as possible to their removal location. In this area, new plantings will be focused in the Kelsey Creek West Tributary site and as streetscape enhancements along Northeast Spring Boulevard and 136th Place Northeast.

Fabrication of rebar getting underway for aerial guideway construction

Sound Transit's contractors have begun work to prepare materials for construction of the elevated light rail guideway at the Kelsey Creek West Tributary site east of 124th Avenue Northeast and west of 130th Avenue Northeast. Crews are in the process of fabricating the rebar that will serve as reinforcement within the column foundations. 

Crews will tie rebar in cylindrical forms approximately nine feet in diameter and 70 to 80 feet long. The tied rebar will be inserted into the drilled shafts as part of column construction for the elevated guideway. 

Materials prep will continue through the spring before drilling of shafts gets underway this summer.

Rebar construction

May 17, 2017

Plan ahead – New I-90 HOV lanes to open, express lanes to close

During the weekend of June 3, WSDOT and Sound Transit are scheduled to open a new HOV lane in each direction on Interstate 90 between Mercer Island and Seattle and permanently close the center roadway express lanes. This will allow Sound Transit to start construction of the 14—mile East Link light rail extension from Seattle to Redmond.

Interstate 90 lane configurations graphic.

This is a change for I-90 commuters and everyone that uses I-90 across Lake Washington and it will take time for people to adjust to new habits and traffic patterns. It could take months for traffic to settle into its new routine. There will be three general purpose lanes for single occupant vehicles traveling on I-90 and an HOV lane in each direction. More information can be found here.

Here's what to expect:

Single occupant vehicles traveling between Mercer Island and Seattle

  • All traffic to and from Mercer Island will use the I-90 mainline.
  • Single occupant vehicles will no longer have access to westbound I-90 at Island Crest Way. Drivers will need to use 76th Avenue Southeast, East Mercer Way or West Mercer Way to access westbound I-90.

Carpools and vanpools traveling between Mercer Island and Seattle

  • Carpools and vanpools traveling between Mercer Island and Seattle can use the new mainline HOV lanes.
  • Note: The 5th Avenue South ramp in Seattle will become bus only.
  • Drivers heading from Mercer Island to Seattle can get on westbound I-90 at Island Crest Way.
  • Later this summer, carpools and vanpools heading from Seattle to Mercer Island will be able to exit from the eastbound I-90 HOV lane directly to Island Crest Way.

Bus riders

  • There are no changes for bus riders traveling to and from the Eastside via I-90.
  • The I-90/Rainier Avenue Freeway Station will continue to operate until September 2018 when Sound Transit begins construction on the Judkins Park Light Rail Station.
  • When the I-90/Rainier Avenue Freeway Station closes buses will use Fourth Avenue South and Rainier Avenue South to travel between downtown Seattle and I-90.
May 15, 2017

Mercer Island intersection work to begin as early as May 17

Sound Transit and its contractors will begin work to improve four intersections on Mercer Island ahead of the scheduled June 3 closure of the center roadway express lanes. These improvements are to prepare the region for the opening of the new I-90 mainline HOV lanes and the closure of the center roadway HOV lanes. Crews will work at four locations:

2017 Mercer Island traffic improvement map.

Project details

Start date: As early as Wednesday, May 17.

Work hours: Crews will work from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday – Friday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Limited overnight work may also occur.

Duration: Work is expected to take approximately four weeks. Some work is weather dependent and the schedule may change.

What to expect:

  • Crews will be restriping lanes, installing traffic signals and traffic cameras, adding a transit bypass lane and converting existing ramps for metering.
  • Crews will dig trenches in WSDOT planted areas to install conduit.
  • Temporary parking restrictions will be in place up to 24 hours before work begins near work areas.
  • Crews will work in the existing right of way with traffic control in place. Please follow the direction of flaggers and signage to safely access your destination.
  • Cyclists and I-90 trail users should follow detours and construction signage to access your destination.
  • Crews will complete this work in a compressed schedule to minimize local traffic impacts. Limited overnight work may occur.
May 10, 2017

Preconstruction survey work to begin this week

Beginning the week of May 8, 2017, Sound Transit's contractors will be conducting preconstruction survey work along the light rail alignment between 124th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 20th Street in Bellevue to document existing site conditions and adjacent properties before the start of construction.

Survey work includes photo and video documentation of condition of curbs, sidewalks, driveways, ditches, paved areas, landscaping, trees, culverts, headwalls, retaining walls and structures. Survey crews will document surface conditions of building exteriors and interiors pending approval by property owners and tenants in spaces adjacent to the project.

What to expect:

  • Two surveyors will be on public and private property performing this work.
  • Equipment consists of a camera and clipboard.
  • Typical work hours are 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Interior building access will be coordinated in advance through property owners and tenants in spaces adjacent to the project.

Building demolition to begin during the week of May 15

Demolition crews plan to begin removing buildings at the site of the future Bel-Red / 130th Station beginning as soon as Monday, May 15. Typical construction work hours in the City of Bellevue are 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Once demolition is complete at the station site, crews plan to continue demolition of structures in other designated staging locations. Demolition crews will work on sites pictured below intermittently through early summer.

Bellevue Redmond demolition map

Construction kick-off open house: June

A construction kick-off open house is planned for June 2017 and will focus on the portion of the East Link light rail project between 124th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 20th Street near the Bel-Red / 130th Station in Bellevue. This is your opportunity to meet the contractor that will build this portion of the East Link light rail project and learn more about construction activities and how to keep informed during construction. Stay tuned for the open house date and location announcement via electronic newsletter.

May 5, 2017

Overlake Village Station building demolition beginning next week

Demolition crews plan to begin removing four buildings at the future Overlake Village Station site in Redmond starting as soon as Monday, May 8. Building demolition and removal is expected to take up to four weeks to complete at the site. The demolition crew expects to work Monday through Friday during the day.

Once demolition is complete at the Overlake Village Station site, crews plan to remove four buildings along NE 20th Street at 136th Place NE in Bellevue to accommodate construction staging and guideway construction.

Overlake Village Station construction area

May 5, 2017

Downtown Bellevue tunneling update

Excavation of the downtown Bellevue light rail tunnel began in February 2017 and construction crews have been working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on tunnel construction ever since. View the photos below for a peek behind the sound wall and a look at the tunnel progress to date. Visit the East Link Extension Flickr page to view construction progress across the 14 mile project.

54-inches in diameter, the large metal pipes provide fresh air ventilation for construction crews working inside the tunnel.

54-inches in diameter, the large metal pipes provide fresh air ventilation for construction crews working inside the tunnel.

Crew members stand at the south tunnel portal entrance, located at 112th Avenue NE and Main Street.

Crew members stand at the south tunnel portal entrance, located at 112th Avenue NE and Main Street.

Soil is removed with excavation equipment called a roadheader, which features a rotating cutting head.

Soil is removed with excavation equipment called a roadheader, which features a rotating cutting head.

Recently exposed soil is stabilized with pressurized concrete before excavation continues. The steel, rib-like structures forming a ring around the tunnel are called lattice girders and provide additional support.

Recently exposed soil is stabilized with pressurized concrete before excavation continues. The steel, rib-like structures forming a ring around the tunnel are called lattice girders and provide additional support.

Background

Sound Transit is building a light rail tunnel under downtown Bellevue between the future East Main and Bellevue Downtown stations. The tunnel will be approximately 2,000 feet long or approximately one-third of a mile. The south portal of the tunnel is located at 112th Avenue NE and Main Street and the north portal will be adjacent to City Hall at 110 Avenue NE and NE 6th Street. Construction of the north portal is anticipated to begin in the summer of 2017. Tunnel excavation will take approximately 24 months to complete.

Because of the short tunnel length, and to minimize impacts 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 excavation equipment. Once the soil is removed, pressurized concrete, called shotcrete, is sprayed on the tunnel's sides, ceiling and floor. Steel lattice girders are installed to 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. Learn more about SEM.

May 1, 2017

East Link construction in central Bellevue continues this spring

Image of East Link Extension locations ‘Meet the Contractor’ open house: Tuesday, June 6

While construction of the downtown Bellevue tunnel continues, Sound Transit will begin building the above-ground sections of the light rail alignment between East Main Station and Spring District/120th Station, the “central Bellevue” area, this spring. The central Bellevue portion of East Link is an approximately 2-mile segment of the project’s 14 miles of new light rail, which includes four of the 10 stations. Stations include East Main Station, Bellevue Downtown Station, Wilburton Station, and Spring District/120th Station.

A public meeting to kick-off construction in central Bellevue is scheduled for Tuesday, June 6. More information regarding the meeting is available below.

Central Bellevue light rail stations

East Main Station: Located south of the intersection of 112th Avenue SE and Main Street, this street-level station provides increased transit access to surrounding residences, neighborhoods and businesses in southeast downtown Bellevue.

Bellevue Downtown Station: This street-level station at NE 6th Street serves downtown Bellevue near the existing transit center. The station includes entrances on the east side of 110th Avenue NE and the west side of 112th Avenue NE.

Wilburton Station: Located just north of NE 8th Street, riders will enter at a south entrance from NE 8th Street and a north entrance connected to 116th Avenue NE via a new pedestrian walkway. This elevated station, which includes a passenger drop-off, pedestrian access and bus connections, provides important access to the medical facilities and Wilburton re-development area.

Spring District/120th Station: Located between 120th and 124th avenues NE, north of a planned new NE 15th Street roadway, this station will be below street-level to support City of Bellevue and Spring District redevelopment plans. It provides a transit-oriented joint development opportunity with the site developer.

What to expect – Spring/Summer 2017

Construction is anticipated to get underway as early as May and will begin on the elevated light rail structure and north tunnel portal at NE 6th Street and 110th Avenue NE. The elevated structure will span I-405, connecting the Bellevue Downtown and Wilburton Stations. Initial activities will include demolition of some existing Sound Transit-owned structures on the west and east sides of I-405, utility relocation and the installation of erosion and sediment control measures. Fencing will be installed around the work areas to establish safe construction sites. Later this year, work at the north tunnel portal will require a long-term closure of a portion of110th Avenue NE near NE 6th Street. Detour signage will be provided around the closure which is anticipated to last approximately nine months.

Construction at Bellevue City Hall will also be noticeable as crews begin work on the plaza and parking garage in preparation for construction of the Bellevue Downtown Station. Some of the first activities you can expect to see at City Hall will include relocation of the art pieces on the City Hall plaza, demolition of the small plaza building next to NE 6th Street, and reconfigured access to the parking garage. Later this year, a portion of the City Hall parking garage will be removed as the structure will be reconstructed to integrate with the future plaza and light rail station.  Parking for City Hall visitors will be available during construction.

Stay tuned, additional information related to construction activities will be provided in future construction alerts.

‘Meet the Contractor’ open house

Please join us to learn more about:

  • Construction plans for the central Bellevue section of East Link
  • Stacy and Witbeck/Atkinson, the contractor Sound Transit has hired to build this portion of the project
  • How to stay informed during construction

When: Tuesday June 6, 2017, 5 – 7 p.m.

Open house format. Presentation begins at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Bellevue City Hall – Main Concourse

450 110th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004

Limited parking available at City Hall, which is adjacent to the Bellevue Transit Center.

Apr 28, 2017

Site preparation in BelRed

Over the course of the next few weeks, you may begin to notice some changes in BelRed between 124th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 20th Street. Sound Transit's contractors will begin to prepare some portions of the construction work zones outside of public right-of-way for East Link construction. Typical construction work hours are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and as needed on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

What to expect:

Fence installation

Beginning the week of May 1, you may begin to notice fencing being installed near 124th and 130th Avenues Northeast, and other areas throughout the corridor. Fencing will provide safe work zones for clearing and demolition of structures within Sound Transit's work zones later this year.

Utility relocations along NE Spring Blvd and 136th Place NE

Sound Transit is working with power and communications utilities, Puget Sound Energy, Comcast and Century Link to coordinate installation of temporary utility poles along NE Spring Boulevard, 136th Place Northeast and on 130th Ave Northeast. This work is anticipated to begin as early as late-May.

More than 30 temporary poles will be installed along the roadways in preparation for East Link light rail heavy civil construction activities in this area. Temporary poles will be in place for approximately 2.5 years until service is changed over to new permanent service that will be installed as part of this project.

Further notification will be provided before this work begins.

BelRed utility relocation map.

Meet the contractor open house: June

Sound Transit's contractor is developing a construction schedule for work occurring this summer for the portion of the project between 124th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 20th Street in BelRed. Sound Transit will host a Meet the Contractor Open House in June to share information about East Link construction activities. Stay tuned for the open house date and location announcement via electronic newsletter.

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