Light rail construction in Bellevue
The six East Link stations as well as the downtown tunnel in Bellevue will be constructed in separate segments. Substantial completion of the stations is expected in spring/summer 2021. To view current traffic impacts due to light rail construction, go to the Traffic Advisories webpage.
- Tunnel: Approximately one-half mile of tunnel from Main Street to NE 6th Street. Work began March 2016; tunnel excavation began in Feb. 2017 and tunnel construction was completed in September 2020. Installation of tracks is underway. Visit the Tunnel Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.
- South Bellevue Segment: I-90 East Channel Bridge to SE 4th Street on 112th Ave SE. Work began spring 2017 and is expected to end 1st Quarter 2022. It includes construction of the South Bellevue Station including a new 1,500 stall parking garage scheduled to open November 2021. Construction activities are also occurring on Bellevue Way and 112th Avenue SE to build the guideway, install the track, and construct other infrastructure. Visit the South Bellevue Station Frequently Asked Questions webpage.
- Central Bellevue Segment: SE 4th Street on 112th Ave SE to 124th Ave NE. Work began spring 2017 with all major construction completed in the 1st Quarter 2023. This segment includes the East Main Station, Bellevue Downtown Station, Wilburton Station and the Spring District/120th Station. Visit the Frequently Asked Questions pages for more about each station.
- BelRed Segment: 124th Ave NE to intersection of NE 20th St and 136th Ave NE. Work began Spring 2017 and is expected to end 1st Quarter 2022. This segment includes the BelRed/130th Station and and a 300 stall park-and-ride lot. Visit the Frequently Asked Question page for more information.
The following segment includes stations outside of Bellevue city limits:
- SR520/Overlake Segment: NE 20th St to NE 40th Street at Overlake Transit Center. (Redmond, WA). Work to began summer 2017 and is expected to be completed in 2021. This segment includes the Overlake Village Station and the Redmond Technology Center Station.
- I-90/Seattle-Mercer Island Segment: From International District/Chinatown Station to the East end of the East Channel Bridge. Work began summer 2017 and is expected to be completed in 3rd Quarter 2021. This segment includes the Judkins Park Station (Seattle, WA) and the Mercer Island Station (Mercer Island, WA).
Approximately five miles of light rail trackway are being built in Bellevue. View a comparison of aerial footage captured in May 2020 of the East Link alignment in Bellevue with the animation of the light created in 2014 when the project was designed to 60 percent.
- Aerial footage of the East Link alignment in Bellevue (May 2020)
- Computerized animation of the East Link alignment from Seattle to Redmond at 60% design (March 2014)
- Webcam time lapse video of construction of the Bellevue Downtown Station
Systems installation and testing
Testing of the systems (guide wires, electronics, signaling, etc.) will occur as each segment is completed. Expect to see "hi-rail" vehicles and light rail vehicles on the tracks. Testing of the entire East Link will take approximately one-year, with revenue service expected to begin in 2023.
- Testing: Sound Transit began occasional live wire light rail vehicle testing in February 2022. Trains travel 20-35 mph on tracks between stations. Nearby neighbors may hear a low hum. More information about the February testing.
Operations and Maintenance Facility - East
In addition to the stations, Sound Transit is constructing an operations and maintenance facility in the BelRed area where light rail cars will be stored and maintained. The facility is needed to house the expanded fleet of light rail vehicles that will come with East Link. Design of the facility will complement the BelRed Corridor Plan to transform the 900-acre corridor into vibrant transit-oriented developments.
Efforts to lessen the impacts of the construction of light rail and the operation of the trains are known as mitigation. Mitigation is a high priority for the City Council and Sound Transit and was addressed in the planning, design and construction of the light rail being built in Bellevue. Mitigation measures are aimed at managing traffic, preserving the environment and reducing noise during construction and once the trains are running. The 2015 MOU requires various mitigation for the East Link project and is captured in Exhibit O. View Mitigation Map (May 2020)
Collaborative design process
At the time East Link (Sound Transit 2) was approved in 2008, the City of Bellevue and Sound Transit began to work closely, through a collaborative design process to create a Regional Light Rail Transit that meets regional and city needs. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) adopted in 2011 between the city and Sound Transit addressed the construction, operation, and maintenance of the light rail project was amended in 2015 to address coordination of City capital projects and terms regarding the Operations and Maintenance Facility-East.
Members of the Light Rail Permitting Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) were appointed by the City Council to help ensure community issues and concerns were to be addressed during the permit review process as defined in Bellevue’s Land Use Code. A great deal of public input was received at meetings and public events that helped shape the Design and Mitigation (D&M) Permits to be issued by the City.
Sound Transit information resources