Seattle-based Sound Transit's second tunnel boring machine (TBM) mining new light rail tunnels between Capitol Hill and the University of Washington (UW) finished its underground journey. When complete, the University Link project will connect the UW and Capitol Hill to downtown Seattle with 3.1 miles of new underground light rail service.
Sound Transit tunneling contractors Traylor Frontier-Kemper will now focus on building 15 cross passages between the two tunnels. A different contractor, JayDee Collucio Michaels joint venture, is scheduled to complete tunneling between Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle in June.
The overall $1.9 billion project is about halfway complete and scheduled to open in 2016. The expansion with stations in the heart of Capitol Hill and the University of Washington will provide unparalleled speed and reliability through Seattle’s most dense neighborhoods. A trip from UW’s Husky Stadium to Westlake will take six minutes and is expected to add 70,000 riders to the system by 2030.
The contractor launched the TBM from the UW station site near Husky Stadium in June, 2011. The TBM passed beneath the Montlake Cut and Montlake, Interlake, Volunteer Park and north Capitol Hill neighborhoods.