An update on Northgate: we're making progress
Our light rail tunnels allow riders to whisk underneath Seattle traffic at 55mph, regardless of traffic or weather. On our Northgate Link extension, we dug eight miles of rail tunnels (four miles in each direction) with state-of-the-art tunnel boring machines, and we completed the twin tunnels on time in late September 2016. There is now a continuous rail tunnel between the International District and the Maple Leaf portal just south of Northgate.
But much more goes into a rail tunnel than just the tubes themselves. In the event of a fire, breakdown, or other emergency, riders would need to be able to evacuate quickly and safely. Crews have recently finished another major milestone, hand-digging 23 cross passages that connect the two parallel tunnels. Building a cross passage every 1,000 feet along the alignment ensures that riders will never be further than 500 feet from a cross passage, a bit more than a city block. Crews will now move on to installation of the rails, overhead power, signal and communications systems and construction of three new stations in the U District, at Roosevelt and at Northgate.
We’re on pace to deliver light rail service to Northgate on time and on budget in late 2021. Once complete, riders will enjoy four-car trains running as often as every four minutes during peak hours, with reliable six minute trips from Northgate to the U District and 14 minutes from Northgate to Westlake Station in downtown Seattle.
Check out the photos below showing our progress on the elevated Northgate Station!