BelRed updates: 124th Avenue NE to NE 20th Street

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Sound Transit contractors continue to prepare the construction work zone for East Link in the BelRed area between approximately 124th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 20th Street. While demolition of structures within the Sound Transit work zone and pre-construction surveying get underway, additional upcoming activities include:

  • Staking or marking utility pole locations – Beginning during the week of 5/22
  • City of Bellevue Fire Department training exercise – Planned for the week of 5/22
  • Clearing trees and understory vegetation to prepare work zones for construction– Beginning during the week of 5/29
  • Fabrication of rebar for drilled shafts used in aerial guideway construction for the elevated portion of the alignment between 124th and 130th Avenues Northeast – Ongoing

Continue reading for more details on these activities.

Staking or marking utility pole locations

Beginning during the week of May 22, Sound Transit's contractors will begin staking or marking utility pole locations along Northeast Spring Boulevard, 136th Place Northeast and on 130th Avenue Northeast.

What to expect: 

  • Pole locations vary along the alignment and have been identified intentionally to avoid conflict with other utility infrastructure to be constructed as part of the East Link project.
  • Business access will be maintained.
  • Staking or marking of pole locations will take place over the course of a few weeks in sync with ongoing activation of Sound Transit's temporary construction easements on private property.
  • Typical work hours are 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturdays.

Sound Transit is working with power and communications utilities, Puget Sound Energy, Comcast and Century Link to coordinate installation of the utility poles. More than 30 temporary and permanent utility poles will be installed along the roadways in preparation for East Link light rail heavy civil construction activities in this area to maintain service to utility customers during construction. 

Minor earthwork and pavement restoration will be required. Sound Transit will contact property owners and tenants if excavation is required. Temporary poles will be in place for approximately 2.5 years until service is changed over to new permanent service that will be installed as part of this project. Pole installation work will require temporary adjacent travel lane closures and several passthroughs as utilities install wire and equipment on the poles. This work is anticipated to begin in mid-June, continuing into mid-summer. 

Further notice will be provided in advance of the start of utility pole installation.

Map of utility pole work for the Bel-Red station.

City of Bellevue Fire Department training exercise

Sound Transit is collaborating with the City of Bellevue Fire Department to provide an opportunity for fire department training exercises planned to take place during the week of May 22. During daytime and evening hours, fire department personnel will utilize the vacant buildings within the Sound Transit work zone that will be demolished as part of the East Link light rail project, to practice emergency access techniques. 

What to expect:

  • You may see Fire Department vehicles parked within the work zone.
  • Exercises in session will sound like a chain saw running.
  • Training is expected to take place during the daytime hours and into the evening.

For more information about City of Bellevue Fire Department training exercises, contact Marie Jensen at mjensen@bellevuewa.gov or 425-452-2064.

Clearing trees and understory vegetation to prepare work zones for construction

Beginning during the week of May 29, Sound Transit's contractors will begin clearing trees and understory vegetation in the Sound Transit work zone along the corridor in BelRed. Trees located where the light rail route or roadway will exist need to be removed in order to build the project. Sound Transit has worked closely with the City of Bellevue and Washington State Department of Ecology in development, review and approval of plans for clearing trees and understory vegetation. 

The preservation of trees to the maximum extent feasible has been a primary project goal throughout project design and into construction. Throughout the corridor, trees that are in close proximity to the work zone but not be negatively impacted by construction or light rail operations will be preserved with protective fencing. 

For the East Link project in the BelRed area from about 124th Avenue Northeast to Northeast 20th Street, Sound Transit is replanting trees in an approximate ratio of three new trees for every tree removed. Plantings are prioritized for areas as close as possible to their removal location. In this area, new plantings will be focused in the Kelsey Creek West Tributary site and as streetscape enhancements along Northeast Spring Boulevard and 136th Place Northeast.

Fabrication of rebar getting underway for aerial guideway construction

Sound Transit's contractors have begun work to prepare materials for construction of the elevated light rail guideway at the Kelsey Creek West Tributary site east of 124th Avenue Northeast and west of 130th Avenue Northeast. Crews are in the process of fabricating the rebar that will serve as reinforcement within the column foundations. 

Crews will tie rebar in cylindrical forms approximately nine feet in diameter and 70 to 80 feet long. The tied rebar will be inserted into the drilled shafts as part of column construction for the elevated guideway. 

Materials prep will continue through the spring before drilling of shafts gets underway this summer.

Rebar construction