Sound Transit’s Seattle downtown tunnel reaches halfway mark

16 May 2012 (Last Updated May 16th, 2012 18:30)

Washington State's regional transit authority Sound Transit has completed the connection of the University Link light rail tunnels with the Downtown Seattle transit tunnel (DSTT).

Sound Transit

Washington State’s regional transit authority Sound Transit has completed the connection of the University Link light rail tunnels with the Downtown Seattle transit tunnel (DSTT).

The authority has said that they are now past the halfway mark in the construction of the $1.9bn Sound Transit’s link light rail that will run underground from the University District to Downtown Seattle.

Tunnel contractor JCM U-Link Joint Venture has mined two tunnels of around one mile, between the site of the future Capitol Hill Station and downtown Seattle, while a separate contractor completed the twin tunnels between the university and Capitol Hill last April.

The company said that the arrival of the 300t tunnel boring machine, dubbed ‘Brenda’, means that the twin tunnels run the length of the 3.1-mile extension from downtown to the University of Washington (UW).

Under the project, the contractors will also focus on completing 21 cross passages between the twin tunnels by 2013 and expand the stations at UW and Capitol Hill, which will allow trains to run faster and more reliably through Seattle’s neighbourhoods.

As part of the project, the contractors will also install communications and power systems at the stations, as well as test the new line.

After completion, a journey from Husky Stadium to Westlake will take six minutes and is likely to be able to handle an additional 70,000 passenger by 2030.

The University Link, which is scheduled to open in 2016, will make stops in Downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill and the UW. 


Image: Upon completion of the University Link light rail tunnels in Seattle, a journey from Husky Stadium to Westlake will take six minutes. Photo: courtesy of Oran Viriyincy.