Two cars test track on possible light rail ‘starter line’ in Bellevue

Feb 14, 2023, 8:38 AM | Updated: 9:24 am

light rail...

Blue Line link tunnel under construction in Bellevue. (Photo from Sound Transit)

(Photo from Sound Transit)

Light rail trains are rolling in Bellevue as of Monday, with two daily runs thru the Bel-Red area for testing the expanded system.

Sound Transit is exploring the option of starting light rail service on the Eastside despite delays in construction connecting the track to the main Seattle light rail line.

District 6 King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci expressed her excitement after taking her first trip on the newly completed light rail track from Bel-Red station at 130th Street to Overlake Village Station in Redmond Thursday night.

Major delays announced for light rail expansion into Redmond, Lynnwood, and Federal Way

She supports opening a “starter line,” which would just run from Bellevue to Redmond while waiting for work to be completed on the now-delayed East Link line from Seattle to south Bellevue.

“I’m even more excited at the prospect of opening an East Link starter line connecting Redmond to Bellevue ahead of opening the now-delayed East Link connection between South Bellevue and Seattle,” Balducci wrote in a press release. “Since I wrote a Seattle Times op-ed in August urging Sound Transit to explore this Eastside-only starter line, the concept has gained momentum with support from Eastside elected and business leaders and the public at large.”

Construction was delayed on the expansion to the Eastside light rail stations, which will add 14 miles of new track and 10 new stations, pushing back the opening date at least one year. The expansion was originally scheduled to be opened by mid-2023.

Sound Transit Board’s System Expansion Committee was informed of the delay in a meeting in August, with problems like complications from the COVID-19 pandemic, the concrete workers’ strike, and unexpected problems with the mortar pads, rebar, and fasteners.

When completed, Sound Transit said passengers would be able to utilize β€œalmost 40 miles of fast, reliable light rail, from the Eastside to downtown Seattle and Northgate and to Sea-Tac Airport and Angle Lake.”

Daily ridership, including the downtown Redmond extension, is projected to be between 43,000 and 52,000 passengers by 2026.

MyNorthwest News

Photo: Medics respond to a crash in SeaTac on June 21, 2024....

Julia Dallas

3 nearly lose their lives, another injured in SeaTac crash

Five people and two cars were involved in a violent car crash in SeaTac on Friday, the King County Sheriff's Office told KIRO Newsradio.

4 hours ago

Photo: Lacey police are investigating a deadly shooting....

KIRO 7 News Staff

21-year-old arrested in Lacey double murder after police chase

A 21-year-old man led police on a chase following the murder of two people whom he lived with in Lacey.

4 hours ago

Photo: The exterior of the Boeing Company headquarters on March 25, 2024....

James Lynch

Boeing working with DOJ to avoid criminal charges

After allegedly violating the terms of a 2021 deferred prosecution agreement, Boeing is reportedly working to avoid a criminal trial.

7 hours ago

Photo: Yin May suffered severe injuries when she was hit by a driver in Kent....

Julia Dallas

Deputies searching for person who hit, nearly killed woman in Kent

King County deputies are looking for the person who almost killed a woman in Kent in a hit-and-run on Sunday.

8 hours ago

Photo: Snohomish County bus....

Bill Kaczaraba

Attacks against Community Transit drivers reveal potential troubling trend

Community Transit drivers in Snohomish County face a growing threat from violent passengers. Two drivers have been attacked recently.

8 hours ago

Image: A Seattle Police Department vehicle is parked outside Lumen Field in Seattle....

Steve Coogan

Report: Seattle officer fired after previous racist comments surfaced

A Seattle Police Department officer was fired for calling his neighbor racist and sexist slurs and making other comments in 2022.

10 hours ago

Two cars test track on possible light rail ‘starter line’ in Bellevue