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Project route and station options under consideration

In May 2019, at the conclusion of the Alternatives Development phase of project development, the Sound Transit Board identified preferred alternatives and other alternatives to study in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), based on technical analysis and community, stakeholder and agency feedback. Read the full Board motion here.

The Board also directed Sound Transit staff to conduct an initial assessment on alternatives that were suggested during the scoping public comment period (February – March 2019) to help inform if they should be studied further in the Draft EIS. Find out the results of the initial assessment below.

After reviewing the initial assessment results, share your feedback in the comment section below by Oct. 4, 2019. Input will be shared with the Sound Transit Board. The Board will convene in October to identify if any of the potential alternatives suggested during scoping will advance to the Draft EIS for further study.

We're beginning environmental review

The Draft EIS is the next step in the environmental review process. We will evaluate potential impacts and benefits of the alternatives on the natural and built environment and identify potential mitigation measures. The Draft EIS is anticipated to be released in late 2020 for public review and comment.

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The West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions will provide fast, reliable light rail connections to dense residential and job centers throughout the region. In addition, a new downtown Seattle light rail tunnel will provide capacity for the entire regional system to operate efficiently. ​

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Initial Assessment

Initial Assessment

Potential alternatives in initial assessment

The Sound Transit Board will review the initial assessment results and community feedback in October to identify whether any potential alternatives should be added to those previously identified for study in the Draft EIS. After reviewing the key differences between the potential alternatives and the alternatives previously studied (in Level 3) of the Alternatives Development phase, share your feedback with us!

20th Ave Tunnel Ballard

BNSF Portal - Option A

A map showing a Link light rail line from Interbay to Ballard via Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks North of Fishermen’s Terminal, mostly tunneled.
Potential alternative: Includes an elevated Interbay station at Dravus Street and continues on an elevated guideway over the BNSF tracks. Enters a tunnel on BNSF property and continues under Salmon Bay with an underground station at 20th Avenue NW and NW Market Street. Requires longer tail tracks.

Thorndyke Portal - Option B

After some early analysis of the BNSF Portal alternative, several engineering challenges were found. This second option was developed to meet the intent of the Board's direction.

A map showing a Link light rail line from Interbay to Ballard via Tunnel North of Ballard bridge, tunneled, ending on twentieth avenue northwest.
Potential alternative: Includes a trenched Interbay station at Dravus Street and enters into a tunnel north of Interbay Station, continues in tunnel under Salmon Bay with an underground station at 20th Avenue NW and NW Market Street.

Summary

Potential alternatives to include in the Draft EIS for further study

20th Ave Tunnel BallardBNSF Portal

  • Ballard Station closer to core of urban village but potentially affects more properties and adds constructability challenges
  • Potential effects to freight/rail operations and large utilities add complexity and risk
  • Tunnel crossing, long span, additional displacements add cost; requires Third Party funding (+ $750 million*)

20th Ave Tunnel BallardThorndyke Portal

  • Ballard Station closer to core of urban village but potentially affects more properties and adds constructability challenges
  • Potential effects to Dravus and/or Emerson Street bridges and large utilities add complexity and risk
  • Tunnel crossing adds cost; requires Third Party funding (+ $450 million*)

*Compared to ST3 Representative Project.


Alternatives previously studied during alternatives development phase

ST3 Representative Project

  • Movable bridge has potential service interruptions; most in-water effects to maritime businesses, vessel navigation and Fishermen’s Terminal

Fixed Bridge Crossing / Elevated Station at 14th

  • Fixed bridge reduces in-water effects, avoids Fishermen’s Terminal but has other potential maritime business effects
  • Station location further from Historic Ballard but with fewer displacements in Ballard (+$100 million*)

Tunnel Crossing / Tunnel Station at 14th or 15th

  • Tunnel avoids columns in water and permanent maritime/navigational effects
  • Tunnel crossings add cost; requires Third Party funding (+ $350 million*)

*Compared to ST3 Representative Project.

SODO Elevated

Double Elevated Station – Option A​

A map showing an elevated Link light rail line in SODO from South Forest Street to South Holgate street next to elevated SODO station along SODO busway.
Potential alternative: Includes a new elevated guideway and elevating the existing SODO Station and light rail lines. Maintains S Lander and S Holgate streets at-grade.

Partial Elevated Station – Option B

After some early analysis of the Double Elevated Station alternative, several engineering challenges were found. This second option was developed to meet the intent of the Board's direction.

A map showing an elevated Link light rail line in SODO from South Forest Street to South Holgate street next to elevated SODO station along SODO busway.
Potential alternative: Includes a new elevated light rail line and SODO Station, maintains existing light rail at-grade. Maintains S Lander Street at-grade, includes S Holgate Street roadway crossing.

Summary

Potential alternatives to include in the Draft EIS for further study

SODO Double Elevated

  • Facilitates transit integration with SODO busway maintained and platform closer to Lander
  • Constructs elevated guideway in poor soils
  • Guideway and station footprint potentially resulting in greater business effects
  • Maintains at-grade Lander Street and gated at-grade crossing of existing light rail line
  • Holgate roadway overcrossing eliminates light rail/traffic conflicts
  • More complex and costly elevated track; higher potential business effects
    (+ $300 million*)

*Compared to ST3 Representative Project.

SODO Partial Elevated

  • Maintains Lander at-grade and existing gated grade crossing; grade separates Holgate with roadway overcrossing
  • Maintains SODO busway for long-term operations
  • Higher potential business effects

Alternatives previously studied during alternatives development phase

SODO At-Grade**

  • Grade separations of Holgate and Lander eliminate light rail/traffic conflicts
  • Displaces SODO busway
  • At-grade track alignment reduces cost and complexity (- $200 million*)

*Compared to ST3 Representative Project.
**Similar for SODO At-Grade and SODO At-Grade with Station Further South.

Yancy/Andover Elevated

A map showing a Link light rail line in Delridge. Includes an elevated south Duwamish crossing to a Delridge station north of SW Andover Street and continues along an elevated guideway to an elevated Avalon station on SW Avalon Way.
Potential alternative: Connects from south Duwamish crossing to a Delridge station north of SW Andover Street and continues elevated along SW Andover Street and SW Avalon Way. Connects to elevated Avalon station.

Summary

Potential alternatives to include in the Draft EIS for further study

Yancy / Andover Elevated

  • Station north of Andover with less accessible station location
  • High guideway along Andover/Avalon
  • Lessens potential residential effects overall, but increases effects along Avalon; increases potential business effects
  • Potentially constrained freight movement at Delridge/Andover
  • Avoids West Seattle Golf Course
  • Similar comparative estimate and schedule to ST3 Representative Project

Alternatives previously studied during alternatives development phase

Delridge Station South of Andover

  • Station south of Andover with better station access
  • High guideway on Delridge/Genesee
  • Potential residential effects in Delridge
  • Connects to elevated Avalon station
  • Similar comparative estimate and schedule to ST3 Representative Project

Delridge Station at Dakota St

  • Station north of Genesee with better station access
  • Station with higher quality equitable transit-oriented development potential
  • Low guideway on Delridge/Genesee
  • Must connect to tunnel alternatives in West Seattle Junction
  • Comparative estimate includes West Seattle Junction Tunnel (+$700 million*) and North Duwamish Crossing (+$300 million*); requires Third Party funding (+$1,000 million* total)

*Compared to ST3 Representative Project.

Pigeon Point Tunnel

A map showing a Link light rail line in Delridge by the West Seattle Bridge to the northeast side of the West Seattle Golf Course via tunnel through Pigeon Point.
Potential alternative: Includes an elevated guideway crossing Duwamish River south of existing West Seattle Bridge and enters a tunnel through Pigeon Point. Tunnel ends near Delridge Way SW with a further south elevated Delridge station and connects to tunnel alternative to West Seattle Junction.

Summary

Potential alternatives to include in the Draft EIS for further study

Pigeon Point Tunnel; Delridge Station straddling Delridge Way

  • Avoids proximity to West Seattle Bridge and BNSF railroad bridge
  • Bisects West Duwamish Greenbelt habitat area; closest to known archaeological site
  • Furthest south Delridge Station, low height facilitates best access
  • Station with higher quality equitable transit-oriented development potential
  • Similar potential residential effects; fewer potential business/freight effects
  • Must connect to West Seattle Junction tunnel; higher schedule risk
  • Comparative estimate includes West Seattle Junction Tunnel (+ $700 million*) and Pigeon Point Tunnel (+ $200 million*); requires Third Party funding (+ $900 million* total)

*Compared to ST3 Representative Project.


Alternatives previously studied during alternatives development phase

Delridge Station South of Andover Street; South Duwamish Crossing

  • Most engineering constraints; Pigeon Point steep slope and proximity to West Seattle and BNSF railroad bridges
  • Delridge station south of Andover; better station access
  • High guideway in Delridge/Genesee, must connect to elevated Avalon station

Delridge Station at Dakota Street; North Duwamish Crossing

  • Avoids Pigeon Point steep slope and BNSF railroad bridge
  • Avoids West Duwamish Greenbelt habitat area
  • Delridge station north of Genesee with better station access
  • Station with higher quality equitable transit-oriented development potential
  • Potentially affects freight, port terminal facilities especially during construction
  • Low guideway in Delridge/Genesee must connect to tunnel alternatives in West Seattle Junction
  • Comparative estimate includes West Seattle Junction Tunnel (+$700 million*) and North Duwamish Crossing (+$300 million*); requires Third Party funding (+$1,000 million* total)

*Compared to ST3 Representative Project.

Comment

Comment

Share your feedback on the potential alternatives in initial assessment​

Email us: wsblink@soundtransit.org​
Call us: 206-903-7229

Tell us what you think


Comments on the initial assessment alternatives received by Oct. 4 will be summarized and shared with Sound Transit’s System Expansion Committee on Oct. 10 and the Board on Oct. 24.

  • We will translate all comments submitted in-language.
  • 我们将翻译用中文提交的所有评论。
  • 我們將翻譯用中文提交的所有評論。
  • Chúng tôi sẽ dịch tất cả các ý kiến gửi đến bằng tiếng Việt.
  • Traduciremos todos los comentarios enviados en español.
  • Lahat ng matatanggap na komentaryo ng Tagalog ay isasalin sa wikang Ingles
  • Мы переведем все комментарии на определенный язык.
  • የቀረቡትን አስተያየቶች በሙሉ በአማርኛ እንተረጉማለን።

What's next

Stay engaged

Your comments on the initial assessment alternatives will be shared with Sound Transit's System Expansion Committee and the Board to help inform whether any of these potential alternatives advance for further study in the Draft EIS. Sign up for project email updates to stay in the loop!

We hope you stay in touch as we develop the Draft EIS. There will be opportunities to engage with us throughout the process.

Project timeline displaying Environmental Review and Community Engagement milestones between summer of 2019 and winter 2021

Get involved at any time

  • Request a briefing
  • Call the project line to speak with an Outreach Specialist (206) 903-7229.
  • Email wsblink@soundtransit.org with questions, concerns or comments.
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Equity and inclusion ​

Sound Transit is committed to inclusively engaging those who live and work along the project corridors, including historically-underrepresented communities. Throughout planning and environmental review, we are working closely with these communities to identify and understand potential benefits and impacts and to provide opportunities for meaningful engagement. ​

Stay engaged!

Get upcoming project news and public involvement opportunities.