February 2, 2006

A special publication of DJC.COM

DJC Top Public Projects of 2005

Sound Transit winds down: What’s next?

Journal Construction Editor

Top Projects Tile
Photo courtesy Sound TransitTransit
Workers prepare support columns for Sound Transit’s light rail Tukwila segment, which includes an elevated guideway. It was the top public construction project of 2005.

Sound Transit is at it again — topping the DJC’s list of public construction projects. For 2005, the agency is No. 1 with the $231 million Central Link light rail Tukwila segment; in 2004, it took three out of the top five spots, including first.

Sound Move — the ballot measure approved by voters in 1996 that called for a mass transit system connecting the urban areas of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties — has brought nearly $5 billion worth of projects to the local construction community. In addition to the big Central Link light-rail projects, the program has included transit centers, park-and-ride lots, direct-access ramps and Sounder commuter rail.

Sound Transit spokesman Geoff Patrick said the projects have created more than 10,000 new parking stalls for commuters, with a vast majority of them occupied during the day. “A lot of our facilities fill up early in the commute and there’s definitely demand for more,” he said.

Sound Move is beginning to wind down, with most of the projects finished or under construction. Central Link light rail is expected to open in mid-2009. The finale will be a 1.7-mile light-rail segment from Tukwila to Sea-Tac Airport that should be operational by the end of 2009.

Patrick said the Sound Transit board has been working on the next phase, called Sound Transit 2. He said the board is putting together a draft package of projects to put before voters, possibly as early as next November. The board started with a list of 500 projects and has whittled that down to 63 after asking communities how the transit system should expand. More whittling is expected.

Patrick said there is a greater need for transit than funding available.

Sound Move is funded by bonds that will be paid off in 2028 from a .4 percent sales tax and a .3 percent motor vehicle excise tax. Patrick said the sales tax makes up about 80 percent of the revenues.

Patrick said the MVET can’t go up to fund Sound Transit 2 because of Initiative 776, but the board could ask voters to approve up to another .5 percent increase in the sales tax.

So, what’s the cost of ST2? “That’s the big question,” Patrick said. “They (the board) could submit a small package or a big one.” The board has asked Sound Transit staff to prepare options for low, medium and high tax scenarios, according to Patrick.

As soon as next month, the board will put together a draft package for the public’s input. In the meantime, Patrick said congestion will continue to get worse as an estimated 1.2 million more people move into the region by 2030.

Top Public Projects in
Washington State 2005 team

Section editor: Benjamin Minnick
Section design: Jeffrey Miller
Information coordinator: Jace Krause
Data compilation: Tim McDonald, Michael Peterson
Web design: Lisa Lannigan
Advertising: Matt Brown

DJC Top Public Projects of 2005

Central Link light rail Tukwila segment
$231.7 million
I-5 Everett HOV expansion $220 million
Harborview Medical Center Bond Program
$186.6 million
Brightwater Conveyance System East Contract
$130.7 million
Department of Corrections North Close Custody Expansion
$105 million
New King County office building and garage
$81.6 million
I-5 HOV improvements, S. 48th St. to Pacific Avenue
$72.9 million
Evergreen Hospital Medical Center expansion
$68 million
Skagit Valley Hospital expansion
$65 million
Shilshole Bay Marina redevelopment
$50 million
Mount Rainier High School replacement
$48 million
SR-16, Union Avenue to Jackson Avenue HOV
$47.3 million
Cleveland High School modernization
$47 million
I-405 HOV direct access/freeway station
$42 million
SR-202 widening and channelization, stage 2
$40.8 million
New Aberdeen High School
$40.4 million
Evergreen High School remodel, addition
$40 million
Everett water pollution control facility
$37.8 million
Terminal 18 North Apron upgrades
$36.2 million
SR-24 widening, I-82 to Keys Road
$34 million
Newport High School modernization, addition
$33.2 million
Richland High School modernization
$30.9 million
SR-240 widening
$30.5 million
West Valley High School remodel, addition
$29.6 million
Wanapum Future Units fish bypass
$29.5 million


Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. (www.abcwestwa.org)

Associated Underwater Services, Inc. (www.associatedunderwaterservices.com)

BLRB Architects (www.blrb.com)

Brown and Caldwell (www.brownandcaldwell)

CDi Engineers (www.cdiengineers.com)

Garco Construction (www.garco.com)

Heery (www.heery.com)

Jacobs Associates (www.jacobssf.com)

Pacific Mobile (www.pacificmobile.com)

PlanCenter.com (www.plancenter.com)

Sky-Pix, LLC (www.sky-pix.com)

SMACNA (www.smacnaww.org)

Stanislaw-Ashbaugh LLP (www.stanislaw-ashbaugh.com)

Star Rentals (www.starrentals.com)

Copyright ©2006 Seattle Daily Journal and DJC.COM.
Comments? Questions? Contact us.