News releases

Rainier Freeway Station closing for East Link construction

Publish Date

This news release was issued jointly by King County Metro and Sound Transit.

Sound Transit and King County Metro bus routes that use I-90 to change starting September 22

Sound Transit and King County Metro riders who take Eastside routes or other buses that stop at the Rainier Freeway Station will need to use new bus stops starting Sept. 22 when the Rainier Freeway Station closes for construction of the East Link light rail extension. The stop will reopen in 2023 as the Judkins Park Link Station as part of the 14-mile East Link extension from Seattle to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond.

The following bus routes will be affected:

  • Sound Transit -- routes 550 and 554
  • King County Metro -- routes 111, 114, 212, 214, 216, 217, 218 and 219

Most bus routes that currently serve the Rainier Freeway Station will bypass the area, but routes 554, 217, and route 212 trips in the reverse peak direction will serve new stops on Rainier Avenue South and South Charles Street. The last two eastbound stops in Seattle for routes 111, 114, 212, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219 and 554 will move from 5th and Jackson and 4th and Washington to 2nd Avenue Extension and Yesler Way. 

The transit-only roadway that connects the Rainier Freeway Station to downtown Seattle will also close, leading to modest increases in travel time. There will be no changes to bus routing on the Eastside. 

Sound Transit and King County Metro share the goal of maintaining comparable levels of service to riders during construction of the Judkins Park Link Station by providing consistent bus access to communities in the Rainier Valley and minimizing travel times for riders as much as possible.

Riders are encouraged to learn about changes to their routes and to plan for impacts to their routines at

When East Link opens in 2023, passengers will be able to travel from the future Judkins Park Station to SeaTac airport in 39 minutes; to downtown Bellevue in 15 minutes; and to the Redmond Technology Station in 25 minutes. Information about East Link is at /Projects-and-Plans/East-Link-Extension and the Judkins Park Station at

Sound Transit is simultaneously working to extend light rail north, south, east and west, opening new stations every few years to form a 116-mile regional system by 2041. Starting in 2021 the Northgate project will provide reliable, congestion-free travel to Seattle's University District, Roosevelt and Northgate neighborhoods. Northgate Link will be followed in 2023 by the opening of service to Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond's Overlake community. Additional extensions to Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Kent/Des Moines, Federal Way and downtown Redmond are planned in 2024. Further light rail extensions are scheduled to reach West Seattle, Fife and Tacoma in 2030; Ballard in 2035; Paine Field and Everett in 2036; and South Kirkland and Issaquah in 2041.

The agency is also working on further investments including but not limited to expansions of Sounder South service and bus rapid transit service in 2024 along the north, east and south sides of Lake Washington. More information is available at