Light rail construction begins at Columbia City station, expect delays Sound Transit warns

Jun 1, 2022, 8:25 AM | Updated: Jul 11, 2022, 8:25 am

Westlake Station...

A light rail train at Westlake station in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)


Light rail riders should take into account some extra delays in their commute starting Monday, July 11, as Sound Transit begins work on the second line which will head east into Bellevue.

After months of warnings of the coming construction, Sound Transit has closed Columbia City Station for the next two weeks to do work getting ready for the next expansion.

Due to the Columbia City Station tile replacement project, the northbound platform is closed for the next two weeks. All passengers must board trains at the southbound platform.

Every other train headed southbound will be ending at Stadium Station for the next two weeks as well.

Future construction will also take place at Columbia City, with closures again expected from August 19 to September 1.


As Sound Transit continues construction for maintaining and expanding light rail operations, riders are advised to prepare for “intermittent periods of less frequent service and replacement bus service” beginning this summer.

It’s part of a construction and maintenance plan to eventually double the length of the light rail system. Those disruptions will start in July.

Sound Transit is preparing for the 33-mile Link extension over the next three years with a plan called “Future Ready,” which also encompasses plans to ensure the existing operations are in top condition.

New Bellevue facility will allow Sound Transit to triple its light rail fleet

“We need to ensure that our system is ready for the major expansions ahead,” said Sound Transit Interim CEO Brooke Belman in a prepared statement. “These projects will impact far fewer riders now than if we delayed them until after further expansions open. While the disruptions that this work will cause are unavoidable, we will work hard to minimize the impact on service to our riders. The end result will be a safe and improved system ready for our next phase of growth.”

Travel will be impacted during the following days: July 11-July 24 and Aug. 22 to Sept. 4 as train frequencies will be reduced to 20 minutes in both directions during all hours as crews replace tile at the Columbia City Station.

During Oct. 21-23 and Nov. 11-13, train frequencies will again be reduced to 20 minutes in each direction until 11 p.m., due to work in the downtown Seattle transit tunnel. A bus shuttle will be available from 11 p.m. until the end of service to connect passengers between Capitol Hill and SODO stations.

Additional times of reduced service are expected for a five-day period in the third quarter of 2022, a period of at least three weeks in quarter four, and additional impacts in the first quarter of 2023.

The Sound Transit expansion project continues to move forward despite CEO Peter Rogoff’s decision to step down earlier this week.

Departing Sound Transit CEO looks back on stewardship of nation’s largest transit expansion

“We as staff knew we were setting ourselves on an ambitious path, but in the years that followed 2016, as we sought to both complete ST-2 and launch the fullness of ST-3, we came to understand that our plans weren’t just ambitious, but they, in fact, were a little bit audacious,” Rogoff said in the front of the Sound Transit board.

Some construction projects in the “Future Ready” plan include retiling the Columbia City Station, as it is deemed necessary to replace the failing station tiles on the platform at the station. The tiles are failing before their intended lifespan due to issues with the concrete below them and are creating a safety hazard, according to Sound Transit.

The work scheduled in October and November in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT) will divide the overhead catenary system in the tunnel into four separate sections. Once completed, the entire tunnel will not need to close for future work in a single section, as is currently the case.

The work in the fourth quarter in the DSTT is to repair equipment and rails. This work will reduce the potential for delays and result in a smoother ride for customers.

Riders are being encouraged to sign up for rider alerts to get the latest information.

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Light rail construction begins at Columbia City station, expect delays Sound Transit warns