Looking back at 2018
2018 was a busy year for the Lynnwood Link Extension as the project hurtled toward the start of construction in 2019. The project team accomplished numerous important milestones, and outreach to the community ramped up in several important ways.
In 2017, cost estimates for Lynnwood Link came in higher than planned. Many factors contributed to the increase, including skyrocketing property values and construction costs. Sound Transit Staff worked with our contractors and partner agencies and cities for six months to identify over 100 cost saving measures, while retaining all stations and park and ride facilities. The effort was challenging, but necessary and led to a design that we believe will better serve the region at cost that is within the project's budget.
The summer was a busy time for outreach to the community, with station design open houses and several community events taking place. We visited with over 900 of you in-person: at three open houses in Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood early in the summer, and three community festivals across the corridor - Tour de Terrace, Celebrate Shoreline, and Lynnwood's Fair on 44th. Over 4,000 of you participated in our online open house to understand current designs and construction planning. We thank you for your participation and interest in the project's timeline, designs, and much more.
A major milestone in Lynnwood Link was the demolition of several Sound Transit owned properties to make room for construction activities. The most visible were the McDonald's Fine Furniture and Black Angus buildings near the Lynnwood Transit Center. Clean wood, metal, concrete and other usable demolition debris was recycled by the contractor as part of the demolition work and a neighborhood plant salvage event took place beforehand. In total, door-to-door outreach was performed to almost 100 residences to provide information on the demolition work in Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Shoreline and Seattle.
Hundreds of less visible tasks were completed along the future alignment, including noise monitoring, civil survey and more. Each of these activates helped inform the design of the project and required notification to neighboring properties, and over 500 people were contacted through phone or in-person visits.
One of the most frequently asked questions from the community in 2018 was about future tree removal along the alignment. The Lynnwood Link outreach team developed a factsheet to help explain why trees must be removed, as well as the plan to replace them with over four times the number of trees.
Finally, the project received great news in December when the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) executed a $1.17 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) for Sound Transit's Lynnwood Link light rail extension. Additionally, The U.S. Department of Transportation's Build America Bureau executed a $658 million low-interest loan supporting the Lynnwood light rail extension. The loan is expected to save regional taxpayers between $200 million and $300 million through lower interest costs.
What's coming in 2019?
Visible construction activities will begin in 2019, starting with early work in late winter/early spring. Please keep a look out for invitations to our pre-construction open house meetings, which we're working on scheduling now. These meetings will provide an opportunity to meet the construction team, and learn about what to expect once work begins and how to best stay informed throughout the process. You'll also see Lynnwood Link Community Outreach in the field a lot more, communicating with neighbors, businesses and commuters about upcoming activities.
This will be an exciting year for the Lynnwood Link Extension and we're excited to begin construction. We hope to see you all out in the community, at our open houses and neighborhood briefings this year.