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April 21, 2016
Sound Transit will break ground Friday on the $3.7 billion East Link light rail extension.
The 14-mile route will run from downtown Seattle to Mercer Island and Bellevue, and then to Overlake in Redmond. Ten transit stations will serve the route.
Work already started on part of the project this week: demolition of several structures to make way for a 2,150-foot light rail tunnel through downtown Bellevue. The $121.4 million tunnel is being built by Guy F. Atkinson Construction. Rails, systems and transit stations are not included in Atkinson's tunnel contract.
The joint venture team of Kiewit and Hoffman Construction Co. in early 2017 will build 6.9 miles of track and two stations under a GC/CM contract that was awarded last year.
The new line will run mostly along Interstate 90 from International District Station to a point east of the East Channel Bridge. New stations will be on Mercer Island and near Rainier Avenue South — both consisting of platforms in the middle of I-90.
East Link is expected to open in 2023. A ride between downtown Bellevue and downtown Seattle will take 20 minutes. A trip between South Bellevue and Sea-Tac Airport will take 50 minutes. People on Mercer Island will be able to get to the University of Washington in 20 minutes.
About 50,000 riders are expected to use the system daily by 2030.
Sound Transit said U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Sound Transit Board Chair Dow Constantine and other local officials have been invited to Friday's event in downtown Bellevue.
Below is an animated video of the East Link extension.