What to expect during construction

Exciting things are underway! Learn more about how Sound Transit builds light rail and what to expect before and after we break ground.

Planning makes perfect

Since the design phase wrapped up in fall 2017, Sound Transit is now engaging the public and partner agencies to talk about what to expect when construction begins in fall 2018.

Pre-construction activities:

  • Complete design of stations and track.
  • Define construction schedule and identify methods.
  • Obtain building permits to build the project.
  • Relocate utilities and coordinate with providers so they can notify customers of impacts.
  • Hold open houses to inform the public of what to expect during construction.

  • Hire a contractor to build the 2.4 mile extension.
  • Outreach to local businesses and residents.
  • Award light rail vehicle contract.
  • Continue to partner with City of Tacoma and Pierce Transit.

relocate utilities

Utility relocation

Link light rail construction will include replacement and/or relocation of utilities under the existing roadway, which will provide an opportunity to upgrade individual utilities. As most of the utilities along the extension are more than a century old, sanitary sewer connections will be replaced to just beyond the curb; water service lines will be replaced to the meter; and gas connections will be tied to a new gas mainline in the street.

PSE and Century Link will relocate their utilities out of the way to accommodate the project by April 2018. CenturyLink relocation areas of work include:

  1. North First Avenue near North Tacoma Avenue (two vaults; 200 linear feet of duct)
  2. Division and J Intersection (two vaults; 205 linear feet of duct)
  3. MLK Jr. Way – Sixth to 11th (six vaults; 1,190 linear feet of duct)
  4. South Eighth Street

For additional information regarding CenturyLink’s utility work, please contact: Corey Newton, City of Tacoma Preliminary Engineer at: (253) 591-5765 or [email protected].


PSE gas relocation areas of work include:

  1. Commerce Street
    • Replacing 2” and 6” gas main and 1,000 linear feet of gas main.
  2. Five 60-foot crossings at:
    • Stadium High School (replacing 6-inch gas main).
    • North Broadway gas main (replacing 2-inch gas main).
    • North Tacoma gas main (replacing 2-inch gas main).
    • J intersection gas main (replacing 2-inch gas main).
    • South Sixth main (replacing 4-inch gas main).
  3. South Third Street
    • Replacing 4-inch gas main and 90 linear feet of gas main.
  4. MLK Jr. Way from 6th to 8th streets
    • Replacing 2-inch gas main and 730 linear feet of gas main.
  5. South Eighth Street
    • Replacing 2-inch gas main and 210 linear feet of gas main.
  6. MLK Jr. Way from Ninth to 11th streets
    • Replacing 2-inch gas main and 915 linear feet of gas main.

For additional information regarding PSE’s utility work, please contact:  Corey Newton, City of Tacoma Preliminary Engineer at: (253) 591-5765 or [email protected].

Breaking ground

Sound Transit will award the construction contract in summer 2018 with construction activities beginning in the fall.

Once we have a contractor on board, we’ll be able to share with you a more detailed schedule regarding where and when you can expect work to take place along the alignment. See more under “Construction Sequencing.”

Construction of the Tacoma Link Extension includes relocating one station, building six new stations and laying 2.4 miles of extension track. Construction will also exclude expansion of the East 25th Street Operations and Maintenance Facility.

Work details:

  • Total project length: Approximately 13,200 feet.
  • OMF building expansion: Approximately 10,000 square feet.
  • Total linear feet of track installed: 26,500 feet.

  • Total cubic feet of excavated dirt along the alignment: 50,000 cubic yards.
  • Total linear feet of conduit to be installed: 105,000 feet.
  • Total tons of concrete to be poured: 30,000 tons (15,000 cubic yards).

Construction sequencing

Crews will construct the new light rail corridor in three segments along the alignment. Within each segment, there will be construction work zones up to 1,000 feet (i.e. three blocks) in length. Prior to constructing the light rail track, the contractor will need to replace and install multiple layers of utilities and provide new utility connections. Track slab construction, roadway improvements and overhead catenary system pole foundation work will follow. The final stages of construction will include overhead span wire installation, traffic signal work and ADA ramp construction.

Sound Transit will likely close lanes around utility and roadway workers as they move through the project. It’s important to note, Sound Transit will be working in multiple three-block areas along the alignment. Working in multiple zones spaced out along the route, expedites the process. Even if the most visible construction activity is taking place farther along the extension, please exercise caution along the entire route. Safety is our top priority.

Access throughout construction

Sound Transit will maintain vehicle access throughout construction, and will help direct drivers and pedestrians through the work area. If planned construction will affect transit, traffic or parking, the surrounding community will be given advance notice of the following:

  • Parking and load zone changes.
  • Lane restrictions and weekend intersection closures.
  • Traffic detours for drivers and bicyclists.
  • Bus stop closures/relocations.

  • Planned water utility shutdowns.
  • Occasional nighttime and weekend work.
  • Typical construction impacts such as dust, noise and truck activity.