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Current Project Phase: Final Design
The East Link light rail extension has entered final design, the process that advances design work from approximately 30 percent to 100 percent completion. The Bellevue segment of East Link is approaching completion. The design & mitigation permitting process is underway, and the technical permitting process is beginning.
Sound Transit provides an animated look at the design of the Bellevue and Redmond portions of East Link in a narrated 12-minute video. To view renderings and other information about these designs, please visit the Sound Transit East Link Document Archive. Final design offers many opportunities for residents, neighborhood organizations, property owners and businesses to get involved.
Please watch this page and Sound Transit East Link website for information about future meetings on final design.
Mitigation is the effort to avoid, minimize or offset known impacts of a project. The city and Sound Transit have worked together for the past four years to design a light rail system that minimizes the need for mitigation and will serve as a long-term asset to the city and the region.
On Monday, January 26, city and Sound Transit staff provided the City Council with an update on Sound Transit’s East Link project. The presentation focused on the status of project mitigation measures and included an updated version of Sound Transit’s computer animation of how the East Link will look and feel once constructed, including where mitigation will occur. January 26 PowerPoint , video of presentation.
A follow up mitigation presentation occured at the Monday, February 9 council meeting and focused on Sound Transit's construction community and business outreach program, station naming and the closure of the South Bellevue Park & Ride. View a copy of the February 9 presentations here: City of Bellevue East Link presentation February 9, Sound Transit East Link presentation February 9.
While a great deal of planning has been completed, there is still much work to be done to prepare for East Link construction. Community outreach will continue to be a key focus during the remainder of the final design process and during construction.
Sound Transit Operations and Maintenance Satellite Facility
Sound Transit is planning to build a new operations and maintenance satellite facility (OMSF) to help store and maintain the additional light rail vehicles needed to operate the Link system as it continues to expand. In the fall of 2012, the Sound Transit Board of Directors identified four options for the facility to be studied in an environmental impact statement (EIS).
Sound Transit, together with the Federal Transit Administration, has prepared a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for this project. The 45-day public comment period ran from May 9, 2014 to June 23, 2014. The City Council is opposed to the siting of a rail yard in Bellevue and submitted a letter to the official DEIS record reiterating that position. Members of the public can view a complete copy of the Draft EIS at Sound Transit OMSF. The Sound Transit Board identified the East Link Corridor: Site 2, also known as the BNSF site, as the preferred alternative for Preliminary Engineering and a Final EIS at it's July 24, 2014 meeting.
The Final EIS will document and address comments received on the DEIS. Following the publication of the Final EIS, the Sound Transit board will make a final decision by selecting the preferred maintenance facility site for the project. In addition, after the Final EIS is published, the FTA is expected to issue its Record of Decision (ROD) on the project during fall of 2015.
To learn more about this project, please visit the Sound Transit OMSF website.
Provide Input on Light Rail
The public has had additional opportunities to provide input on the light rail project via:
- Light Rail Permitting Citizen Advisory Committee: The CAC represents a citywide perspective in design and permit review of the East Link light rail facilities and tracks. All CAC meetings are public and will initially occur every two weeks, with agendas and presentation materials available on the committee's meetings page.
- City Council meetings: Council involvement in the East Link process has been in-depth and sustained since March 2007. All council meetings are televised and the video from past meetings can be accessed at Bellevue TV.
- City of Bellevue public meetings: City staff and consultants hired by the city have held meetings and open houses to provide information and receive comments.
- Light Rail Best Practices Committee: Active from June 2007 to June 2008, the committee researched light rail experiences of other North American cities and held 14 public meetings and four public events.
- Public comment on the draft environmental impact statements: Sound Transit held five public meetings, including two in Bellevue, and the City Council held a public hearing on the draft EIS. More than 500 people attended the three meetings in Bellevue, and approximately 125 people commented. A public meeting and public hearing was also held in Bellevue for the supplemental draft EIS.
- Sound Transit Board of Directors meetings: East Link is a frequent topic of discussion at board meetings. To submit questions or comments to the board, write to Board Administrator, Sound Transit, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98104; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sound Transit workshops and open houses: Sound Transit has held several workshops and open houses on East Link, most of them at Bellevue City hall.