Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Sound Transit Board approves Tacoma Dome Link Extension

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Sound Transit Board approves Tacoma Dome Link Extension Sound Transit/Twitter

The Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) Board approved the Tacoma Dome Link Extension last week, setting a $125.7 million budget for preliminary engineering for the project.



The work will extend light-rail further south from South King into Pierce County, which Sound Transit notes is one of the fastest growing areas in the Seattle metropolitan region.

The Board also signed off on a $10.3 million consultant contract with HDR Engineering, Inc., to begin project development services.

"The Board took an exciting step forward to make light-rail service a reality for the thousands of people who travel up and down the South Sound corridor every day," said Sound Transit Board Vice Chair and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. "With more people choosing to live and work in Tacoma, our imperative to deliver light-rail service to Pierce County is critical to supporting our quality of life and growing economy."

The Tacoma Dome Link Extension is part of the Sound Transit 3 (ST3) Plan, which voters approved in November of 2016. The project extends light rail by 9.7 miles to the cities of Federal Way, Milton, Fife, Tacoma and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians Reservation, with service set to start by 2030.

Sound Transit Board member and King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer said he believes voters' investment in the new extension will reap "huge dividends for South Sound communities."

Sound Transit said it will begin technical work on the project next year, which will include an extensive community engagement process to establish a consensus on a Locally Preferred Alternative, and other alternatives, to study in the Environmental Impact Statement to be completed by mid-2019.

"The light-rail extension to Pierce County will be one of the first public transit projects to be delivered under our recently-approved system expansion plan," said Sound Transit Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff. "Delivering Link service to South Federal Way, Fife and the Tacoma Dome by 2030 will require Sound Transit, our partner cities, and the Puyallup Tribe to work closely together to gather community input and to make project decisions in an efficient manner. This will allow us to provide a safe and convenient transportation option for residents throughout the Puget Sound."

The Tacoma Dome Link Extension will extend light rail from the Federal Way Transit Center to Tacoma primarily via an elevated guideway with a new rail-only fixed span crossing the Puyallup River, Sound Transit said.

The plan calls for stations in South Federal Way, Fife and East Tacoma in the vicinity of Portland Avenue, with a terminus station at the Tacoma Dome. The project also includes two parking garages in South Federal Way and Fife, a pedestrian bridge connecting the Tacoma Dome Station to Freighthouse Square, and a new light-rail bridge over the Puyallup River.

The Tacoma Dome project includes the construction of a new light-rail operations and maintenance facility (OMF) to accommodate additional fleet capacity of an expanded regional light-rail system. The facility's location will be determined during project development, the transit agency said.

Officials said the OMF must be ready to receive light-rail vehicles before the start of revenue service on the Tacoma Dome and West Seattle Link Extensions. While the facility will be part of the Tacoma Dome Link Extension project, its design and size will support the operation of the Sound Transit Link light-rail system as a whole, Sound Transit says.

The HDR consultant team will be responsible for providing planning, engineering, environmental and community outreach technical services to support the first phase of project development for the new extension.