East Link light rail line already transforming Eastside skyline
Our latest photo update on progress building new light rail lines connecting the region takes us to the East Link extension – 14 miles of new light rail with ten stations connecting Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue and the Bel-Red and Overlake neighborhoods (Microsoft headquarters).
East Link construction started in 2016 and is scheduled to open in 2023 providing a 24-minute trip between downtown Bellevue and Westlake Station in downtown Seattle. Trips from the Judkins Park Station in Seattle's Central District to downtown Bellevue will take just 15 minutes, no matter how bad traffic is.
So far more than 2.1 million labor hours have gone into building the new line and its stations. By “labor hours” we mean the amount of time that women and men from the local Laborers, Carpenters, Ironworkers, Operators, Electricians and other specialty trades have worked on the job sites stretching from Seattle to Overlake.
Here’s a glimpse of them at work and what they’ve accomplished so far.
Stay up to speed on the latest East Link progress by joining our new East Link Facebook Group where we’ll keep the pictures flowing and our construction outreach folks will be ready to answer your questions.
Mercer Island - you've got rail!
Contractors have delivered a portion of the rail and concrete ties that East Link trains will use between Seattle and the east side of Mercer Island.
You can see the rail installation work as you pass over the island on I-90 – the view is especially good from the Sound Transit Express bus routes 550 and 554 as it passes by.
Yes, it will be leveled and straightened in the months ahead.
South Bellevue and downtown Bellevue
Heading east from Mercer Island, the columns for the light rail guideway are in place. Contractors are building the bridges connecting the columns using a special “traveler” form that allows the bridge sections to essentially be made on site above the roadway.
Moving further north, contractors are busy finishing the inside of the light rail tunnel under downtown Bellevue.
Mining operations wrapped up in the 1,800 foot tunnel last summer.
Above you can see the concrete being applied to the tunnel walls and floor.
When complete, the tunnel will have two sets of tracks (one for northbound, one for southbound trains) with a wall running down the middle.
Bel-Red and Overlake areas
While the main activities might not be as dramatic as new bridges, flying travelers and fresh rail installation, contractors are making good progress on the elevated guideway and below ground utility work in the Bel-Red and Overlake areas.
More new girders like the ones pictured below are going up every day along the route and contractors are making good progress on the foundations for a new pedestrian bridge over State Route 520 at the Overlake Village Station.
Our friendly East Link Outreach staff will keep an eye on the group and stand ready to answer your questions about all things East Link!