Sound Transit Link - light rail system

Tacoma light rail

Light rail policies
Contract schedule

Fast, safe and attractive, the $1.8 billion light rail system promises to be an integral part of local economic development - providing businesses and residents with convenient and reliable transportation.

The 10-year project, known as Link, is by far the biggest part of the Sound Transit plan. Sound Transit has pledged that most of the project development, design and construction management work will be done by consultants.

Using surface streets, elevated tracks and tunnels, Link will connect the University District, Capitol Hill, downtown Seattle, the Rainier Valley, Tukwila and Sea-Tac Airport. Environmental reviews and further analysis will determine whether light rail serves Southcenter Mall or takes a more direct route to the airport. The line will end near Interstate-5 at about 200th Street.*

Downtown Tacoma will enjoy the region's first taste of light rail with service expected to begin by 2001. The first phases of service in Seattle won't begin until 2004.

* Service to Roosevelt and Northgate will be added later if funds are available.

Light rail policies

  • There will be separate contracts for environmental assessments, preliminary engineering of civil facilities and preliminary engineering of systems equipment.

  • Preliminary engineering contractors will take design to 30 percent design completion.

  • Line segment final design contractors will be selected to produce final design drawings and specifications, taking design from 30 percent to 100 percent completion.

  • Civil and systems preliminary engineering contractors will assist in managing coordination of final design by line segments contractors.

  • Line segments will be determined during preliminary engineering and will be selected to ensure consistent packaging of final design and construction.

  • Design-build and other innovative approaches for developing line segments will be considered during preliminary engineering.

  • Prime contractors will be responsible for including local and small firms and M/W/DBE firms in their teams to meet Sound Transit goals. Sound Transit will encourage creative partnerships to involve local firms and develop local technical expertise.

  • Key civil, systems and environmental consultant staff will be required to either locate in Sound Transit-provided work areas or to locate in a consultant-provided project location next to Sound Transit staff. A CADD network will be required.

Beginning timeline

Aug. 1, 1997. Develop a draft light rail community involvement plan.

Sept. 1, 1997. RFPs issued for initial contracts for preliminary engineering and environmental contracts.

Oct. 1, 1997. Complete analysis of alternative alignment from downtown to the U District with Task Force.

Nov. 30, 1997. Develop first phase agreements with cities of Seattle, Tacoma, SeaTac and Tukwila, King County and the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Nov. 30, 1997. Develop a list of the toughest issues in each segment and draft ideas on how to solve them.

Fall, 1998. Complete NEPA draft environmental impact statement for Northgate to SeaTac and SEPA draft environmental impact statement for Tacoma segment.

Sept. 1998. Complete design and construction segment packaging.

Summer, 1999. Complete preliminary engineering and final EIS for both segments. (Date assumes community and board decisions on the alignment and draft EIS are completed by fall, 1998.)

Light rail contract schedule

RFQ Issue Contract name Contract period Cost estimate Conflicts Status

3rd Qtr 97 Survey, mapping, photogrammetry services with WSDOT (WSDOT will select local surveying and other subcontractors as needed 8 months $400,000 - $600,000 none
3rd Qtr Environmental documents NEPA & SEPA 3 years $3 million - $8 million Prime contractor cannot participate in light rail design contracts.
3rd Qtr 97 Civil facilities design - P.E.; final design coordination, project development support 3 years with option to renew $5 million - $10 million per year Prime contractor cannot participate in light rail design contracts.
3rd Qtr 97 Transit systems engineering design - P.E.; final design coordination; equipment procurement support. 3 years with option to renew $2 million - $4 million per year Prime contractor cannot participate in light rail design contracts.
4th Qtr 97 Transit system route planning and ridership forecasting support.** 3 years with option to renew $250,000 - $500,000 per year none

** Contract also includes HOV/Bus and commuter rail systems