City mulls pricey tunnel for Ballard, West Seattle light rail

Apr 26, 2019, 6:46 AM | Updated: 9:33 am
seattle light rail...

After months of public feedback and study, a Seattle City Council committee will hear recommendations from Sound Transit on where to run the lines and build the stations for the light rail expansion to Ballard and West Seattle.

RELATED: Ballard ‘Missing Link’ to remain unresolved
RELATED: Add-ons to Ballard, West Seattle light rail could cost $2B

Once the alternatives have been identified, environmental impact studies will be done for some options. Before that happens though, a Sound Transit committee and the full Sound Transit board will weigh in at meetings next month.

The expansion plan adds almost five miles of light rail between West Seattle and downtown Seattle ,with five stations between the stadium area and the Alaska Junction. The stations are slated to open in 2030.

By 2035, another seven miles of light rail will run between Ballard to downtown, which would include nine stations between the Chinatown-International District and Ballard.

Some locations being considered for the West Seattle Junction are 41st Avenue, 42nd Avenue, and 44th Avenue.

Ballard options include 14th or 15th Avenue, and 4th and 5th Avenue in the Chinatown-International District.

As for where the rail lines would go, both elevated tracks and tunnels are being considered.

The loudest call for a tunnel is beneath the Ship Canal to Ballard, which would be $350 million more than a drawbridge in the ST3 plan. That drawbridge would be taller than the Ballard Bridge, and would open two to four times a day for marine traffic, stopping trains.

An alternative is a high fixed bridge across Salmon Bay, about as tall as the Aurora Bridge, which would cost $100 million more than the drawbridge (but $250 million less than the tunnel).

“The tunnel is definitely what would work best for everyone,” said Stephanie Bowan, president of the Port of Seattle Commission.

Grassroots group Seattle Subway is calling for a Ballard station to be on 15th Avenue Northwest instead of the quieter 14th Avenue Northwest, and a shallow tunnel in the Chinatown International District for easier transfers between trains.

Tunneling to the West Seattle Junction would be less disruptive to the neighborhood and more aesthetically pleasing, but it could cost $700 million more than running tracks above the street.

Light rail alignments won’t be final until 2022, but the city’s Sustainability and Transportation Committee meeting with Sound Transit leadership will help narrow the choices.

By Graham Johnson, KIRO 7

Local News

Nicole Jennings

WA seeing major rise in antisemitism amidst hateful celebrity rhetoric

Acts of antisemitism are on the rise in Washington, with this year set to reach an all-time high in number of acts of hate against the Jewish community.
14 hours ago
Seattle likes Taylor Swift songs...
Micki Gamez

Seattle’s most downloaded songs and artists may surprise you

Newly released Spotify data says Taylor Swift is Seattle's most downloaded and listened to artist of the year 2022.
2 days ago
Stevens Pass skiing...
Heather Bosch

Stevens Pass vows to do better during this ski and snowboard season

The Stevens Pass Ski resort is open and it's under pressure to show skiers and snowboarders it has changed for the better.
2 days ago
Sunken ship Pacific...
Feliks Banel

Sunken ship lost 150 years ago, found off WA coast

The wreck of a sunken ship off the coast of Washington nearly 150 years ago has been found by a pair of maritime historians.
2 days ago
Puget Sound snow...
Bill Kaczaraba

Some snow into the Puget Sound region overnight

Friday snow is always a little bit different than Monday through Thursday snow. Friday snow is generally part of the holiday wonder.
2 days ago
human caused...
L.B. Gilbert

Small Business Administration offers disaster relief after Bolt Creek Fire

The SBA announced Thursday that they would be offering disaster relief loans to businesses impacted by the Bolt Creek Fire.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
City mulls pricey tunnel for Ballard, West Seattle light rail