East Link cost savings to be explored at open house

Publish Date

The City of Bellevue and Sound Transit will host a joint open house to share the latest design options and cost-saving ideas for the East Link light rail project, and to get feedback from the public.

The open house takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 26, at City Hall, 450 110th Ave. NE. Bellevue and Sound Transit, which is building East Link, earlier this year launched a unique collaborative design process intended to reduce the city's financial contribution for a downtown light rail tunnel, and lower overall project costs.

Attendees can learn about concepts for the portion of the project in Bellevue. The goal is to review the merits of the ideas and learn from the public what other considerations need to be addressed as the concepts are developed. There will also be information about cost-saving ideas that were considered and rejected, the status of the project, and the latest schedule.

In November 2011, the city council signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Sound Transit. The agreement provides details about the project's scope, schedule and budget, evaluation of cost-saving ideas for the six miles of light rail line in Bellevue, city contributions for a tunnel, and design modifications to minimize impacts on neighborhoods.

For the past three months, Bellevue and Sound Transit have been involved in the collaborative design process, aiming toward final design of the light rail line and the six stations located inside the city's boundary. East Link will run from Seattle, across Lake Washington on Interstate 90, through Bellevue to the Overlake Transit Center in Redmond.

After the public weighs in, the cost-saving concepts will undergo further design work based on recommendations from Bellevue and Sound Transit. The ideas potentially could be incorporated into the final design phase of the project.

Bellevue will continue to work closely with Sound Transit and there will be additional opportunities for public input as the project progresses. Before construction begins in 2015, Sound Transit must finalize the route design, stations, art installations, construction methods and mitigation. East Link is projected to begin service in 2023.