Ballard Link Extension projects updates
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Visit our detailed online open house to learn more and stay current with the Ballard Link Extension project progress.
The Ballard Link Extension (BLE) will provide fast, reliable light rail connections to dense residential and job centers in the Chinatown-International District, downtown, Interbay, and Ballard neighborhoods. In addition, a new downtown Seattle light rail tunnel will provide capacity for the entire regional system to operate efficiently. The Ballard Link Extension is part of the regional transit system expansion approved by voters in November 2016.
Ballard to downtown
Adds 7.7 miles of light rail service from downtown Seattle to Ballard, including a new downtown Seattle rail-only tunnel.
Includes 9 new stations from Chinatown-International District to Ballard
Start of service scheduled for 2039.
Current project status
Sound Transit and the Federal Transit Administration published the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extension Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for public comment on Jan. 28, 2022, followed by a 90-day public comment period. The WSBLE Draft EIS evaluated potential impacts and benefits of the alternatives on the natural and built environment, and transportation systems and identified potential mitigation measures.
In July 2022, after reviewing the WSBLE Draft EIS and the comments from Tribes, the public and agency partners, the Sound Transit Board identified the preferred alternative for the West Seattle Link Extension (WSLE) on July 28, 2022, and requested further study for the Ballard Link Extension (BLE). Read more about the Sound Transit Board’s action in the Board Motion.
After a period of further studies from July 2022 to February 2023, the Sound Transit Board identified the preferred alternatives for the Ballard Link Extension. Read the March 2023 press release and Board Motion for more information. On July 27, 2023, the Board modified the preferred location for the Denny Station for the Ballard Link Extension. For details, view the July 2023 Board Motion.
The extensions were initially on the same environmental review timeline. However, given additional environmental review needed for project refinements for BLE resulting from the Sound Transit Board action in March 2023, environmental review for the two extensions will now proceed on different timelines.
WSLE will proceed to a Final EIS, which is anticipated to be published in 2024, while a new Draft EIS will be completed for BLE to reflect action by the Sound Transit Board in March 2023. The BLE alternatives will be updated, including analysis of the preferred alternative, as well as other refinements and alternatives identified in March and July 2023 board motions. The new BLE Draft EIS will rely and build upon the existing work to date on the WSBLE Draft EIS including all previous scoping comments, public outreach and feedback and environmental analysis. The Draft EIS publication is anticipated to be late 2024, and the Final EIS likely published in 2026.
What can I expect as a project neighbor?
If you're a resident, business or property owner near a potential BLE route or station alternative, visiting the project’s Online Open House and signing up for email updates are the first steps to ensuring you are up to speed on the project. If you have any questions or you would like to set up a meeting to learn more, contact the project team at email@example.com.
The Sound Transit Board will make a final decision on routes, stations and the project to be built after a final EIS is published for BLE.