Light rail to Angle Lake begins tomorrow

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Sound Transit to welcome the public to its newest station Saturday

Tomorrow at 11 a.m. South King County residents and workers will begin enjoying a new era in regional travel with the start of light rail service to Angle Lake.

Riders using the elevated station and guideway will reach Sea-Tac Airport in four minutes, Westlake Station downtown in 41 minutes, and the University of Washington Station at Husky Stadium in 48 minutes.

A dedication ceremony and inaugural train ride sponsored by Alaska Airlines, and a City of SeaTac community celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will mark a major milestone in expanding mass transit as second quarter Link ridership jumped 76.8 percent after the Capitol Hill and University of Washington stations opened in March.

"We open our third light rail station in six months on Saturday—another achievement in a historic year for high-capacity light rail in our region," said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. "South King County commuters will be able to get out of gridlock and reach their destinations using Link's fast, reliable service. Thanks to our federal delegation—U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Congressman Adam Smith, FTA Regional Administrator Linda Gehrke, and our partners at the U.S. Dept. of Transportation—as well as the Puget Sound Regional Council, for their tireless support of this project."

The Federal Transit Administration provided $37.3 million in grants to the new line, including $10 million in TIGER funding championed by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, senior member of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee. Washington State provided $5.2 million in Regional Mobility Grant funding, and the Puget Sound Regional Council awarded $7 million in Congestion Mitigation Air Quality dollars for the project.

"This station opening is yet another milestone in Sound Transit's work to expand accessible transportation options to families in the Puget Sound region, and builds on our larger effort to invest in transportation projects that ease congestion, make communities safer, and create jobs," said Sen. Murray. "I'm proud to support this step toward providing transit‎ that is safe, reliable, and ready to meet 21st century needs in the South Sound."

"Alaska Airlines is proud to sponsor Sound Transit's opening ceremonies on such a momentous day," said Shaunta Hyde, Alaska Airlines' Managing Director for Community Relations. "As a longstanding member of the SeaTac community that employs 15,000 people, we consider the new Angle Lake Station a tremendous asset to our local and regional economy."

"The Angle Lake Station opening is an exciting celebration in our community," said State Rep. Mia Gregerson. "A place for community gatherings and celebrations, the station and plaza are more than a way to come and go, but also a place to visit. I am proud of state, regional, and local governments for working together to start the project as quickly as possible, and building in community input on the station's design."

The South 200th Link Extension project will open four years earlier than envisioned in the 2008 voter-approved Sound Transit 2 plan and is trending $40 million under its $383 million budget. The success of the project can be attributed to a collaborative design-build team and strong federal partnership that helped secure funding to expedite the start of construction. The Port of Seattle has also been a key partner, working closely with Sound Transit during construction of the extension.

"The Port of Seattle welcomes the extension of Sound Transit's rail line to the new Angle Lake Station. Light rail ridership to SeaTac/Airport Station keeps climbing – up 11.5 percent for the year," said Port of Seattle Commissioner Fred Felleman. "Making Sea-Tac more accessible is a win for the environment and a win for the traveling public, particularly with record-breaking growth at the airport."

The 1.6-mile rail line from Angle Lake connects to the existing 18.8-mile Link system operating between Sea-Tac Airport and the University of Washington. It provides a 1,050 parking garage and 70 surface parking spaces, which will relieve demand for transit user parking in a congested corridor. Four charging stations for electric vehicles are housed in the garage, and storage for 52 bicycles is available on site.

"Saturday will be a big day for the people of Angle Lake and further south who will use the new station to bypass highway congestion," said Sound Transit Boardmember and King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove. "Thanks to the Port of Seattle for its close collaboration on this project, and the City of SeaTac for hosting the community celebration. A special thanks to Alaska Airlines for sponsoring the dedication ceremony and inaugural train ride."

Saturday's morning dedication includes a speaking program and ribbon-cutting, followed by a community celebration hosted by the City of SeaTac that will include entertainment, refreshments, and other activities.

More information on opening activities are available at anglelake2016.org.

"The Angle Lake Station will spur the redevelopment of many nearby properties and provide new housing and economic development in this part of our city," said SeaTac Mayor Michael Siefkes. "The new station allows residents easier access to jobs and education to the north and direct access for workers and visitors coming to SeaTac. We invite everyone to help celebrate with us on the new public plaza."

The elevated station and guideway, garage and roadway improvements was the first design-build project completed by Sound Transit. The team included PCL Civil Constructors, Inc. to design and construct the aerial station and guideway, Parsons Brinkerhoff for project management services, joint venture Harbor Pacific Graham, along with Berger ABAM and Brooks + Scarpa, to design and build the plaza and garage, Johansen Excavating Inc. to construct roadway improvements, and Hewlett Zollers for pre-design and design services.

A total of 2,853 union workers affiliated with the Washington State and Seattle/King County Building and Construction Trades Council and affiliated unions of the Northwest Construction Alliance logged one million work hours building the extension. Crews cast 1,170 concrete segments weighing 30 to 40 tons each to build the elevated guideway. The blue aluminum façade to the garage was constructed with 8.81 miles of blue anodized aluminum plank.

EDITORS: link to video and photo assets:

HD video of train testing on the Angle Lake elevated guideway here.

HD video of massive crane lifting concrete guideway segments into place here.

HD photos of Angle Lake Station, guideway and art here.

More light rail on the way

Tunnel boring machines recently completed mining twin light rail tunnels that will extend the University Link extension by 4.3 miles to Northgate Mall. That project includes three new stations in the U District, Roosevelt and Northgate neighborhoods and is will open in 2021.

By 2023, Sound Transit will operate nearly 50 miles of light rail lines extending to Lynnwood in the north, Bellevue and Redmond's Overlake area to the east and the Kent/Des Moines area in the south. Construction for East Link began in downtown Bellevue this spring and the light rail extension to Lynnwood is in final design.

Opening day train schedule, station access

While light rail between Sea-Tac International Airport and downtown Seattle will begin service as usual at 5 a.m. Saturday, trains will not begin serving Angle Lake Station until 11 a.m.

Trains will depart each station about every 10 minutes throughout the day and every 15 minutes after 10:30 p.m.

Service to and from the new station Saturday will continue through the end of normal operating hours at 1 a.m. The last train from Angle Lake to the UW will depart at midnight. The last train from Angle Lake to Beacon Hill departs at 12:45 a.m. Riders wanting to go further north to the University District will need to exit Beacon Hill Station and take King County Metro Route 70.

To accommodate an expected increase in the number of riders using the system as well as game day crowds, Sound Transit will operate three-car trains all weekend.

The last train Sunday from the station departs for the UW at 11:15 p.m. The last train for Beacon Hill Station leaves at midnight.

Sound Transit estimates that the South 200th Link Extension will serve 5,400 average daily boardings coming and going at the station by 2018. Angle Lake Station will serve as the southern terminus for Link until service to Kent/Des Moines starts in 2023.