Ten weeks of Link disruptions start in January

Shuttle buses operate instead of Link light rail in downtown Jan. 4–5; afterward, passengers traveling through downtown must change trains at Pioneer Square

Publish Date

The New Year will mean a new normal for Link light rail riders. Construction to integrate new light rail to the Eastside into the existing system, known as Connect 2020, gets underway the first weekend of the New Year. Riders are encouraged to prepare for service disruptions during the first three months of the year.

From Saturday, Jan. 4 through Sunday, Jan. 5, there will be no light rail service through downtown Seattle. Shuttle buses will make surface stops at the closed stations between Capitol Hill and SODO. Starting Jan. 6, construction will require trains to operate less frequently for 10 weeks. 

Beginning Jan. 6 and continuing through March 13, Link passengers traveling through downtown will need to make a transfer via a new center platform at Pioneer Square. For safety, bikes will not be allowed at the Pioneer Square station. Passengers with bikes must exit at University Street or International District/Chinatown.

To make it easier for bike commuters to keep their bikes off the system, Sound Transit is installing new on-demand BikeLink lockers at the Rainier Beach, SODO and University of Washington stations. Cards to access the lockers are available at https://bikelink.org/cards/get_card_options.

Throughout the Connect 2020 period of light rail service impacts passengers should:

  • Allow extra time, at least 30 minutes, especially the first week. Trains will run every 12 minutes and will be crowded.
  • Pay attention to signage and direction from Sound Transit staff ambassadors. Boarding platforms and station entrances will change through the duration of this project.
  • Sign up for Rider Alerts and go to https://connect2020.soundtransit.org for more information.

Two additional weekend light rail closures are planned for Feb. 8–9 and March 14–15.

When Connect 2020 construction is complete, the existing tunnel will be connected to East Link in preparation for 2023 when light rail expands to 10 new East King County stations. 

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 fall with the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and the construction of the new waterfront continuing to change travel behavior. Increased King County Metro Transit service began Sept. 21, adding transit trips during the shoulder peak periods, and Sound Transit closed light rail downtown for two weekends in October to prepare for Connect 2020. Last month, WSDOT began tolling the SR 99 tunnel again altering how people travel to and through downtown. Learn more about the Seattle Squeeze at www.seattle.gov/traffic.