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Link riders should prepare for intermittent periods of travel impacts from July through early 2023

“Future Ready” construction and maintenance activities will prepare for the addition of 33 miles of light rail operations over the next three years

Publish Date

Starting in July, Link riders need to prepare for intermittent periods of less frequent service and replacement bus service while a series of “Future Ready” construction and maintenance activities prepare Sound Transit to more than double the length of the light rail system within the next three years. These projects will position the light rail system for a transformative period of growth but will require passengers to monitor which periods will require planning ahead for longer travel times. 

“We need to ensure that our system is ready for the major expansions ahead,” said Sound Transit Interim CEO Brooke Belman. “These projects will impact far fewer riders now than if we delayed them until after further expansions open. While the disruptions that this work will cause are unavoidable, we will work hard to minimize the impact on service to our riders. The end result will be a safe and improved system ready for our next phase of growth.”

Below are dates and details for the first two phases of the Future Ready projects, as well as what to expect with later work. Sound Transit will post updates and rider alerts that include specific dates and durations for those projects as details are finalized.

Time periods

Travel impact

Monday, July 11 to Sunday, July 24

Monday, Aug. 22 to Sunday, Sept. 4

In order to replace tile at the Columbia City Station, train frequencies will be reduced to 20 minutes in each direction during all operating hours during the closure of one track, requiring all trains to use a single track between Mount Baker and Tukwila.

Friday, Oct. 21 to Sunday, Oct. 23

Friday, Nov. 11 to Sunday, Nov. 13

As a result of work on the overhead catenary system in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT), train frequencies will be reduced to 20 minutes in each direction until 11 p.m. From 11 p.m. until end of revenue service, a Link bus shuttle will be available to connect passengers between Capitol Hill Station and SODO Station.

A period of five days in late Q3 2022

In order to repair and replace the overhead catenary system, Link will be shut down between Rainier Beach and Tukwila International Blvd. stations with a Link bus shuttle connecting passengers between these two stations.

A period of at least three weeks in Q4 2022

Trains will be single tracked through the DSTT and train frequencies will be reduced to 20 minutes.

Q1 2023

This work is needed to complete connections between the current 1-Line service and new 2-Line tracks that will link riders to the Eastside. Impacts are still to be determined.

In preparation for the upcoming service changes, passengers should sign up for Rider Alerts to make sure they receive information as it becomes available. Throughout these service impacts, the agency will be providing frequent communication with passengers to help them plan their rides.

Summary of Future Ready projects and benefits

The Columbia City Station tile replacement is necessary to replacing failing station tiles on the platform at the station. The tiles are failing before their intended lifespan due to issues with the concrete below them and are creating a safety hazard.

The work scheduled in October and November in the DSTT will divide the overhead catenary system in the tunnel four separate sections. As a result of this work, for many projects the entire tunnel will not need to be closed for future work in a single section, as is currently the case.

The work in the fourth quarter in the DSTT is to repair equipment and rails. This work will reduce the potential for delays and result in a smoother ride for customers.

Replacing escalators and elevators

At the same time Future Ready projects get underway, Sound Transit will continue working to replace virtually all of the escalators and elevators in the DSTT. When Sound Transit took responsibility for the facility last year, all but one of the 58 conveyances were beyond their intended life spans, and their unreliability is a frequent source of frustration for Sound Transit passengers. The bulk of the $96 million budgeted for DSTT capital improvement projects through 2025 is dedicated to is funding the assessment and design of the replacement vertical conveyance assets. The agency thanks passengers for their patience as these extensive upgrades take place.

Sound Transit is simultaneously working to extend light rail north, south, east and west, more than doubling the size of its system to 62 miles in the next few years. The East Link extension will extend service from downtown Seattle to Mercer Island, downtown Bellevue and the Overlake area of Redmond. Construction is underway to further extend service to Downtown Redmond. Construction is also underway to extend service to Lynnwood and Federal Way.