More than doubling the Puget Sound region’s light rail infrastructure, Sound Transit reports that it is set to meet its scheduled 2024 opening date for the Link extension into Lynnwood.
Finished or nearly complete aspects of monumental construction project include all 188 columns, the majority of the framework’s 533 girders, and ten bridges.
“The remarkable progress we’re making is visible daily for anyone driving along I-5,” wrote Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff in a news release. “Considering that most of the work to date has been done during the pandemic, this milestone is a testament to the commitment of the project’s workforce.”
Light rail to Lynnwood just passed the halfway mark! Twenty-minute trips to @UW
roll in three years! Read all about it and check out the latest progress pics: https://t.co/gC4S5bmtrO pic.twitter.com/E3p9cQVMZz
— Sound Transit #VaccinateWA – 🚆 🚈 🚍 (@SoundTransit) November 23, 2021
The project benefits from an abundance of federal funding. $1.17 billion of the total $3.1 billion project cost has been sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration under a Full Funding Grant Agreement with Sound Transit. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau has also put up $658 million in low interest loans.
Sound Transit reports that the federal support has saved the regional taxpayers an estimated $200 – $300 million through low interest loans. DOT refinanced the loan in 2021 to take advantage of lower federal interest rates, saving a subsequent $150-250 million.
“Snohomish County has been leading the way to ensure our residents get light rail as quickly as possible while staying within the budget,” continued Sound Transit Board Member and Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “As Link Light Rail stretches north toward Everett, it will serve even more residents and provide more commuting options.”
The transit agency is also set to open a supplemental parking garage at Lynnwood Transit Center by spring 2023. The garage will contain capacity for 1,679 vehicles in a five story structure.
Upon completion in 2024, Lynnwood commuters will be able to reach the University of Washington in 20 minutes, downtown Seattle in 27, and Sea-Tac Airport in an hour. Trains from Lynnwood to downtown Bellevue will reach their destination in an estimated 51 minutes.
The East Link’s 14 miles of track along the I-90 bridge will connect Seattle through Bellevue into Redmond by 2023. Sound Transit recently finished construction on its parking garage at the future East Link South Bellevue Station.
“In just two years, riders will be able to avoid some of the worst highway congestion in the nation and enjoy reliable trips to their destination,” said Sound Transit Vice Chair and Everett City Council member Paul Roberts. “Because Sound Transit is at the national forefront of operating carbon-free transit, riding Lynnwood Link will be the environmentally friendly way to get around the region.”