Link closed downtown this weekend as Connect 2020 reaches halfway mark

Shuttle buses operate instead of Link light rail in downtown beginning Friday night and all day Feb. 8–9 as crews shift work to other side of transit tunnel

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As construction to join new light rail tracks to serve the Eastside into the existing system continues smoothly, it's time for riders to prepare for the second of three planned weekend closures of downtown Seattle Link service, part of the 10-week Connect 2020 project.

The closure of downtown stations will begin Friday night at 9 p.m. and continue until Monday morning. During that time, there will be no Link light rail service between Capitol Hill and SODO. Shuttle buses will make surface stops at the closed stations. Fares will not be required for train or shuttle bus passengers.

When service resumes, Link passengers traveling through downtown will still need to make a transfer via the new center platform at Pioneer Square. However, the operating platform will have switched to the southbound platform at stations north of Pioneer Square and to the northbound platform at stations south of Pioneer Square. Extensive signage marking the change will be deployed, and Sound Transit ambassadors and security staff will be present to assist passengers in getting where they need to go.

For safety, bikes will remain prohibited at the Pioneer Square station. Passengers with bikes must exit at University Street or International District/Chinatown stations.

As with the first half of Connect 2020, light rail passengers should continue to pack their patience and:

  • Allow extra time for their trip. Trains will run every 13 to 15 minutes and will be crowded.
  • Pay attention to signage and direction from Sound Transit staff ambassadors. 
  • Sign up for Rider Alerts and go to https://connect2020.soundtransit.org/ for more information.

The final planned weekend light rail closure is scheduled for March 14 – 15.

When Connect 2020 construction is complete — and it's currently on schedule — the existing tunnel will be connected to East Link in preparation for 2023 when light rail expands to 10 new East King County stations. Before then, three new stations — U District, Roosevelt and Northgate — will begin service in 2021, boosting ridership and increasing the importance of completing this work now.

Connect 2020 is another phase of the "Seattle Squeeze" (see below). Sound Transit and partner agencies are working together closely during this period to keep people moving. Sound Transit's commitment over the next five years is to complete light rail extensions that will more than double the reach of current service, expanding congestion-free commuting options for thousands of new riders each day.

Managing the 'Seattle Squeeze'

As the "Seattle Squeeze" continues over the next five years, Seattle's downtown will continue to undergo transitions to meet the needs of a growing city. Regional transportation partners including the City of Seattle, the Washington State Department of Transportation, King County Metro, Sound Transit and the Port of Seattle are all working together to keep people and goods moving safely to and through downtown.

The latest developments in the Seattle Squeeze began this past fall with the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the construction of the new waterfront continuing to change travel behavior. Also last fall, WSDOT began tolling the SR 99 tunnel, again altering how people travel to and through downtown. Connect 2020 began in early January, reducing light rail capacity for 10 weeks. Learn more about the Seattle Squeeze at www.seattle.gov/traffic.