Washington’s state transit authority Sound Transit in the US has issued a formal notice to proceed on the $73.7m final design contract for its 8.5-mile Lynnwood Link light-rail extension.

The contract is to be awarded to the HNTB Jacobs Trusted Design Partners joint venture, which comprises HNTB and Jacobs Engineering Group.

The Lynnwood line will run north from the Northgate Link extension, which is under construction and scheduled to be opened in 2021.

It is reported that the journey from Lynnwood to downtown Seattle will take 28min, and the extended line would have a weekday ridership of 74,000 by 2035.

"The Lynnwood project is the northernmost portion of the more than 30 miles of Sound Transit 2 light rail extensions."

The Lynnwood project is the northernmost portion of the more than 30 miles of Sound Transit 2 light rail extensions.

In February, the project received approval from the US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to move into final engineering work and is expected to receive about $1.2bn grant through the FTA New Starts programme.

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In addition to the estimated construction cost of $1.5bn to $1.7bn, Sound Transit intends to buy 34 light rail vehicles and build a light rail maintenance depot, which would bring the total cost to around $2.3bn.

A final budget for the project is to be finalised next year, with construction due to begin in 2018 for commissioning in 2023.

Last year, the Sound Transit Board selected the final alignment and station locations for Lynnwood Link.

The trains will be operated along the I-5 corridor from Northgate to Lynnwood with four new stations at Northeast 145th Street, Northeast 185th Street, the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center at 236th Street Southwest, and the Lynnwood Transit Center.