Lynnwood Link Extension project phases

Graphic timeline of the Lynnwood Link Extension project.

Lynnwood Link Extension is part of the voter-approved Sound Transit 2 Plan to extend mass transit throughout the region. Upon the scheduled 2023 completion, the Lynnwood Station will be the most northern point of a light rail system with more than 50 miles of service to the north, south and east of Seattle.

Alternatives development

Alternatives analysis, conceptual engineering & EIS scoping: completed fall 2011

Based on results of environmental scoping and community input received in 2011, the Sound Transit Board took a major step by confirming that light rail is the best mode of transit and Interstate 5 is the right corridor to study based on ridership, travel times, service levels and cost.

Purpose and need

  • Provides reliable, rapid, and efficient two-way, peak and off-peak transit service of sufficient capacity to meet the existing and projected demand.
  • Provides a mobility alternative to travel on congested roadways, and improves connections to the regional multimodal transportation system.
  • Supports North Corridor communities' and the region's adopted land use, transportation and economic development vision.
  • Supports the long-range vision, goals, and objectives for transit service established by Sound Transit's Long-Range Plan for high quality regional transit service connecting major activity centers.

Environmental review & preliminary design

The environmental review phase of the Lynnwood Link light rail extension is nearing completion. Potential route and station alternatives were reviewed for possible benefits and impacts to the environment, community and region. Sound Transit gathered input from the public, local community groups, stakeholders and jurisdictions including the cities of Seattle, Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds and Lynnwood as well as King and Snohomish counties. A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was published in July 2013 for review and formal public comment. The 60-day extended comment period ended on September 23, 2013, with approximately 640 comments received from the public, agencies, tribes, businesses and organizations. A Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) was published in April 2015.

What are the next steps in the environmental process?

The EIS is first issued as a draft to allow for review and comment on the environmental analysis. A formal public comment period and public hearings are held to solicit input. Based on information in the Draft EIS and public comment, the Board identified a preferred light rail route and station alternatives in November 2013. The preferred alternative and the other alternatives are evaluated in the Final EIS, which also responds to comments received on the Draft EIS and includes proposed mitigation. With completion of the Final EIS, the Board will amend or confirm the preferred alternative, project budget and schedule. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will issue a Record of Decision document detailing its requirements and completing the federal environmental review process.

What is included in the Final EIS?

The Final EIS documents the results of the environmental analysis and any updates or refinements to the analysis or design since the Draft EIS based on additional information and public and agency comment. The Final EIS includes: 

Purpose and need

Describes the project area and objectives including the need for action and planning history.

Alternatives considered

In addition to the preferred alternative identified by the Sound Transit Board in November 2013, all light rail route and station alternatives previously identified by the Sound Transit Board in December 2011 for detailed study in the EIS will be included along with a No Build alternative. 

Transportation impacts and mitigation

Reviews transit ridership and travel times, regional travel, freeway operations, bicycle and pedestrian access and local arterials and streets. This section also includes potential long-term and construction impacts of the project, cumulative impacts and mitigation measures.

Environmental impacts and mitigation

Identifies potential environmental effects of the project and mitigation measures. Some of the areas covered in this section include:

  • Land use
  • Visual and aesthetics
  • Property acquisitions, displacements and relocations
  • Noise and vibration
  • Ecosystem and water resources
  • Geology and soils
  • Cultural, archaeological and historic resources 
  • How will Sound Transit work with property owners?
  • As occurred with the Draft EIS, property owners who may be impacted by one or more of the route or station alternatives received a letter of notification from Sound Transit before the publication of the Final EIS. 

Project milestones*

  • December 2011: Sound Transit Board identified route and station alternatives to be evaluated in Draft EIS
  • July 2013: Draft EIS published, comment period and public meetings
  • November 2013: Preferred alternative identified by the Board
  • Early to late 2014: Further design for preferred alternative, coordination with agencies and jurisdictions, and environmental analysis
  • April 2015: Final EIS published, responds to Draft EIS comments
  • April 2015: Board selects project to be built
  • Early to mid-2015: Record of Decision issued by FTA
  • 2015 - 2018: Final design and permitting
  • 2018 - 2023: Construction
  • Late 2023: Open for service

*Schedule subject to change

Final design

Final design

On Nov. 19, 2015, the Sound Transit Board of Directors approved the project and budget to move into the final design phase which is started early 2016.

During the final design phase of the project, engineering and design work will be advanced on the trackway, stations, train control systems, and public art. At key design milestones, Sound Transit will engage with the public and project partners for input on a variety of project aspects including station designs and construction details. Subscribe to updates or check back for more up-to-date information.

For more information and additional documents, visit the Lynnwood Link project archive.

Construction & testing

Scheduled* for early 2018 to mid 2023

*Subject to Sound Transit Board approval