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A drone shot of a pedestrian bridge over the NE 60th Street overpass.
Media Caption
The pedestrian bridge at the NE 60th Street overpass was a great solution for students and families born out of collaboration and a focus on safety.

A light rail learning experience in Redmond

Sound Transit and community come together to maintain a safe walking route to school

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As we start to celebrate graduations, kick off summer and wrap up another school year, we recognize all of the people who make a difference in our region – whether by educating our kids or building transit extensions to help people get to where they work, play and learn.

One such instance happened recently in Redmond, near construction of the 14-mile East Link light rail extension.

Check out this video to learn more:

Schedule challenges, especially for mega projects like this, are a big deal. To keep the project on track, crews had to close a road. 

“We recognized pretty early on that if we can shut down the whole roadway, that’ll allow us to get in here and still try and finish by the month of September,” said Zach Adams, deputy construction manager for Stacy and Witbeck/Kuney.

But there was a problem: they had to maintain access for the community to their local school, Benjamin Rush Elementary.

The team looked at many options, and ultimately decided that the best solution to keep kids safe and the project on schedule would be to build a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists at the NE 60th Street overpass.

Sound Transit Deputy Executive Project Director Eza Agoes said that everyone was able to “work together to develop the best solution, not only to move the project forward but also to prioritize the needs of the community.”

Kids walk and bike across a bridge.
Getting to school safely.

Redmond Mayor Angela Birney said that the “community really came together with Sound Transit, with the school district, with the city and the community at the school to make sure people still had access.”

The biggest priorities were to have a safe walking route for students and their families, and to complete this part of the project before the next school year.  

“It also just gets us closer to [Link light rail] from Redmond Technology Center to Downtown Redmond Station opening sooner,” Adams said.

It also came with an unexpected learning opportunity, as kids got to observe all of the construction progress happening under their feet.

Sheila Kembel, school safety and crisis manager for the Lake Washington School District, said she wouldn’t be surprised if the project sparked some interest among students as they think about entering the workforce one day.

With more transit expansions on the way, Sound Transit will always be in need of the engineers, construction project managers and ironworkers of the future.

Want to join our team? Apply today.

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