Construction has been under way for months on the south portal site for the tunnel under downtown Bellevue. Part of the Sound Transit East Link extension, the tunnel will host light rail service in Bellevue and run between the future transit stations at East Main and Downtown Bellevue. What you might not know . . .
- The tunnel will be approximately one third of a mile long when completed and will run between the East Main and Downtown stations, mostly under 110th Avenue NE
- Excavation work should be complete in about two years followed by another year of construction to complete the tunnel interior
- Crews are excavating at the south portal site at 112th Avenue SE and Main Street. Construction is on pace to dig 3 to 4 feet of tunnel a day. The north portal will surface at the light rail station at NE 6th Street near the current Bellevue Transit Center
- The completed tunnel will be nearly 28 feet tall and run 30-60 feet below ground
- The budget for the tunnel is $121.4 million
- Instead of a tunnel boring machine, this tunnel is being built using the sequential excavation method (SEM). SEM uses an excavator and cutting equipment to take out soil. As soil is removed, lattice girders are installed and then pressurized concrete, called shotcrete, is sprayed onto the tunnel sides, ceiling and floor. This method, vs a tunnel boring machine, should minimize disruption to surface streets, homes and businesses.
East Link is scheduled to open in 2023 and is part of the 14 mile, 10 station light rail extension. When open a trip from downtown Seattle to downtown Bellevue will take about 20 minuted. The next extension is scheduled to open the following year linking stations to Redmond.
2023 will be here sooner than we expect. Access to light rail is going to be a game changer downtown, adding appeal, convenience, prestige and value to downtown Bellevue’s business and residential communities.