A landslide, bad concrete supports and a workers’ strike are pushing back the opening of Sound Transit lines


Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

Workers are now laying tracks on the I-90 floating bridge.

A variety of factors have caused a group of Sound Transit light rail projects to be delayed, delaying the opening of the lines.

The East Link, Redmond, Lynnwood and Federal Way extensions are all delayed. Perhaps the biggest problem lies with the I-90 floating bridge, where workers are hauling up 4 miles of track because concrete supports were built either with the wrong dimensions or with poor-quality concrete. Mortar pads, rebar and rail fasteners all have problems. The track plans to open in 2024. The I-90 issues will also push the start time of the Redmond Extension to 2025.

Mother Earth caused the delay in extending the Federal Way as a recent 200-foot landslide was a red flag for engineers. The thinking now is that the ground is more unstable than originally thought, so pillars will have to be sunk deeper into the ground. The work will not be completed before 2025.

According to Sound Transit, the concrete workers’ strike pushed back the opening of the Lynwood Extension to 2025.

“I want to emphasize that every challenge … is solvable and we will open these transformative projects, and we will do so as quickly as possible, with our top priority being our passengers’ needs for safety, quality and long-term durability,” he told Brooke Belman, interim CEO of Sound Transit.

Read more track maintenance articles.


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