Federal Way Link Extension continues early construction work

Commuters will begin to see trees removed along I-5 near Kent and Federal Way

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Sound Transit is continuing early work to prepare for construction of the 7.8 mile Federal Way Link Extension, which will extend the regional light rail line from Angle Lake station to the Federal Way Transit Center. A portion of the work takes place in the WSDOT right-of-way along I-5, including the clearing of trees and vegetation, the replacement of existing trees as well as relocation of conflicting utilities. This work is underway in SeaTac and Des Moines. Starting this week work will commence in Kent along I-5 near Kent/Des Moines Road. Work will begin in Federal Way as early as June 25. Construction of the light rail guideway will begin later this summer.

Sound Transit will remove approximately 8,600 trees for this project and replace those trees with more than 16,000 new trees, a roughly 2:1 ratio. The majority of the trees being removed are located in Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) right-of-way between Sea-Tac and Federal Way, along I-5.

Working with their contractor Kiewit Infrastructure West, the agency worked to minimize the number of removed trees. Replacing them will begin as early as possible.

The agency will employ several strategies for replanting trees. These include phased planting to allow replacement trees to begin growing earlier; planting trees in other locations that currently have low numbers of trees; planting in wetland and stream mitigation areas; salvaging small trees and planting larger trees where appropriate.

Sound Transit will emphasize the planting of native and adaptive species of trees and other plants. The agency has also agreed to a 13 year maintenance program with WSDOT. Trees removed for the Federal Way Link Extension will become the property of the contractor and can be used for timber, mulch, compost and wood by-products. Our contractor has pledged to donate lumber to Habitat for Humanity as well as 1,000 trees annually to local jurisdictions along the light rail alignment over the course of the project.

The Federal Way Link Extension will have three stations, at Kent/Des Moines Road near Highline College, at South 272nd Street and at the Federal Way Transit Center when it opens 2024. The trip from Federal Way to Sea-Tac Airport will be 15 minutes with service every six to eight minutes during peak hours.

All project construction work is done under stringent COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

For more information on the Federal Way Link Extension and to sign up for project updates, visit www.soundtransit.org/fwlink.