Sound Transit breaks ground on £2.4bn Lynnwood Link Extension in US

WCN Editorial Team 4 Sep 2019 NORTH AMERICA TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE

Sound Transit and its partners have broken ground of the $2.9bn (£2.4bn), 8.5-mile Lynnwood Link Extension, which will extend the light rail from Northgate to Lynnwood City Center in Washington, US.

Expected to open in 2024, the extension will offer commuters a fast and reliable service between south Snohomish County and the University of Washington, downtown Seattle, Eastside, Sea-Tac Airport and other areas.

The extension includes four new stations at Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Shoreline and Seattle.

Stacy & Witbeck/Kiewit/Hoffman joint venture and Skanska L300 joint venture are constructing the extension.

The project budget includes $1.17bn (£966m) from a Full Funding Grant Agreement executed by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

In addition, the Build America Bureau of the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has executed a $658m (£543m) low-interest loan for the Lynnwood light rail extension.

This was one of four loans finalised in a Master Credit Agreement between Sound Transit and the USDOT in 2016.

The agreement is expected to save regional taxpayers between $200m (£165m) and $300m (£248m) through lower interest costs.

US Senator and Senate Appropriations Committee senior member Patty Murray said: “The Lynnwood Link Extension project will lay the tracks to extend light rail into Snohomish County and build out a modern infrastructure system in Puget Sound and throughout our state, for families and communities today and beyond.”

Sound Transit plans to operate trains every four to six minutes during peak hours on weekdays.

The Lynnwood Link Extension will provide 20-minute rides from the Lynnwood Transit Center to the University of Washington, 27-minute journeys to downtown Seattle, and 60-minute trips to Sea-Tac Airport.

Trains from Lynnwood will also serve the Eastside and reach downtown Bellevue in 51 minutes.

Everett City Council member and Sound Transit board vice chair Paul Roberts said: “Bringing light rail to Snohomish County will improve the everyday lives of thousands of commuters. This project also paves the way for light rail to extend all the way to Everett, which is something we are all looking forward to.”

Sound Transit expects ridership to reach between 47,000 and 55,000 daily by 2026.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said: “I’m proud of the state and regional partnership that helped make this new light extension into Snohomish County a reality.

“Throughout the state, we are working to deliver transportation choices that provide traffic relief, jobs and clean air. On behalf of 7.5 million Washingtonians, I congratulate Sound Transit on this important milestone for our region and our state.”

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Image: Rendering of Lynnwood Station. Photo: Courtesy of Sound Transit.

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