Sound Transit Board selects sites for further environmental study for Operations and Maintenance Facility South

Facility is needed to store, clean and maintain expanding light rail fleet

Publish Date

The Sound Transit Board yesterday selected sites to study for a new Operations and Maintenance Facility South (OMF) South located in South King County. The OMF South will serve Sound Transit's growing light rail fleet as the agency continues to expand congestion-free light rail across the region. 

"Commuters will enjoy three new light rail lines within the next five years and 116 miles over the next 22 years. This facility will be essential for Sound Transit to store and maintain more than140 of the additional light rail vehicles we need to move more people out of ever worsening gridlock," said Peter Rogoff, Sound Transit CEO. "We appreciate the outpouring of public engagement in picking the sites we will study."

Sound Transit narrowed down from twenty-four potential site options to identify six options for public input during a scoping process that began in February. Identifying site options was challenging because the project requires at least 30 relatively flat acres within a reasonable distance from the light rail extension to Federal Way that Sound Transit will open in 2024. The evaluation factors in narrowing the options included environmental impacts, operational cost, construction feasibility, property impacts and ability to connect to the light rail line. 

Based on public input and the recommendation of the Sound Transit Board's System Expansion Committee, the Board today selected the following sites to be studied in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for OMF South:

  • Midway Landfill and Interstate 5 (I-5) – Site is located south of South 246th Street, west of and adjacent to I-5 and sits mostly on a former landfill site. Site includes approximately 0.1 to 0.3 mile of connecting tracks to the Federal Way Link Extension. 
  • South 336th Street and I-5 – Site is located in the City of Federal Way, west of I-5 and south of South 336th Street. The site includes approximately 1.1 miles of track connecting to the Federal Way Link Extension project. The connecting tracks could potentially be along 1-5 or SR 99 and will serve as future Tacoma Dome Link Extension guideway. 
  • South 344th Street and I-5 – Site in located in the City of Federal Way, west of I-5 and north of South 344th Street. The site includes approximately 1.3 miles of connecting tracks to the Federal Link Extension. The connecting tracks could potentially run along I-5 or SR 99 and will serve as future Tacoma Dome Link Extension guideway.

The following sites were not selected to be studied in the Draft EIS:

  • South 240th Street and State Route (SR) 99 – Site is located to the east of SR 99, just south of South 240th Street in the City of Kent. Site includes approximately 0.5 mile of connecting track to the Federal Way Link Extension. 
  • Midway Landfill and State Route (SR) 99 – Site is located south of South 246th Street and east of and adjacent to SR 99 and partly on a former landfill site. The site includes approximately 0.5 miles of connecting tracks to the Federal Way Link Extension. 
  • South 316th Street and Military Road – Site is located east of I-5 in unincorporated King County. The site includes approximately 0.5 mile of connecting tracks to and from the site bridging over I-5 to the Federal Way Link Extension.

The Draft EIS will be prepared in compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and published in 2020. After considering the DEIS findings and weighing public, Tribal and agency comments on the Draft EIS, the Sound Transit Board is expected to identify a preferred alternative. Once the Final Environmental Impact Statement is published in 2021, the Board is expected to select the project to be built. Final design, construction and testing of the facility would take place from 2021 – 2026.  It is anticipated that the new facility will be open in 2026.

An Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF) is where light rail trains go for cleaning, storage and maintenance. To keep its entire light rail system functioning, Sound Transit needs to strategically locate OMFs that operate 24 hours a day, year-round. Sound Transit currently operates one OMF in Seattle and has another facility under construction in Bellevue. In addition to studying potential locations for an Operations and Maintenance Facility in South King County, the agency will also require a new OMF in Sound Transit's North Corridor.

For more information on this project and to sign up for project updates visit us at www.soundtransit.org/omfs.