Sound Transit breaks ground on new light rail base in Bellevue
Link Operations and Maintenance Facility: East will maintain and store light rail vehicles for regional Link expansions; site will incorporate mixed-use transit oriented development
Sound Transit has begun construction of its new Operations and Maintenance Facility: East (OMF East), which will service and house light rail vehicles for Link extensions to Northgate, Lynnwood, Federal Way and Redmond.
An event in Bellevue today marked the occasion, with remarks by Congressman Adam Smith; King County Councilmember and Sound Transit Boardmember Claudia Balducci; Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak; Hensel Phelps Vice President and District Manager Jim Pappas; Seattle Children's Hospital Director of Regional Government Affairs & Community Relations and stakeholder group member Edna Shim; and Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff.
"The City of Bellevue has continued its record growth and expansion, highlighting the importance of innovation in its transportation infrastructure. Light rail is a crucial transportation option that has been helping to meet the growing needs of Bellevue residents," said Congressman Adam Smith. "The new Operations and Maintenance Facility: East will not only support expanded capacity in the light rail system, but it will also include much-needed transit oriented development, giving residents the ability to easily access public transit options from where they live."
"Today we celebrate a success story. When I was on the Bellevue City Council, we had a vision to transform the Bel-Red area into a model of mixed use development centered around Eastlink light rail," said King County Councilmember and Sound Transit Boardmember Claudia Balducci. "Many of us were disappointed at the proposal to build an industrial rail maintenance base within walking distance of the station, which would have been a lost opportunity. However, in the ensuing years, Sound Transit, the City of Bellevue and many partners in the community worked diligently and found a creative way to provide this base which is needed to run the light rail system, also realizing our dreams of a vibrant, mixed-use community where people can live and work right next to the light rail station."
"This facility will propel our regional light rail system forward from 20 miles today to 58 miles by 2024, with longer and more frequent trains serving more riders all the way from Lynnwood to Redmond to Federal Way," said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff.
Sound Transit worked with the City of Bellevue and community partners to incorporate an opportunity for transit-oriented development (TOD) at the OMF East to integrate with new housing, office and retail projects occurring in the Spring District. Approximately 1.1 million square feet will be available for TOD when construction of the OMF East is complete at the end of 2020.
Sound Transit selected Hensel Phelps Construction Company and their design build team last May to design, permit and build the new light rail operations and maintenance facility. Hensel Phelps worked with the City of Bellevue on the Master Development Plan entitlements that includes planning for the site's surplus property. Sound Transit anticipates issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) to seek a master developer for this future TOD opportunity by the end of 2018.
Beginning in 2019 and continuing through 2023 Sound Transit's light rail vehicle fleet will expand from its current 62 vehicles to 214. The OMF East will accommodate the inspection, service, maintenance, storage and deployment of up to 96 light rail vehicles on top of the 104-vehicle capacity of the existing Operations and Maintenance Facility located on Forest Street in Seattle. The OMF East it will begin storing light rail vehicles in 2020, as the Seattle facility reaches capacity.
The OMF East is a 24/7/365 facility employing up to 250 full-time employees. The project will provide 14 service bays; a cleaning and wash bay; shop areas; parts storage; office space and on-site parking for service and employee vehicles. Sound Transit will pursue a minimum of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification for the facility.
A video of renderings of the new facility and light rail vehicles, and a time-lapse of work at the existing Forest Street OMF in Seattle is at https://vimeo.com/262465332.
A video featuring employees at the Forest Street OMF telling the story of the work they do to maintain the light rail vehicle fleet is at https://vimeo.com/259767411.
More information on the OMFE is at https://www.soundtransit.org/Projects-and-Plans/Find-a-Project/operations-and-maintenance-facility-east.