Plans rolling ahead for Ballard Light Rail extension

Ballard is one step closer to getting a light rail: the Sound Transit Board approved contracts for both the Ballard and West Seattle Link Extensions and established a plan for public involvement in 2018.

The board established a $285.9 million budget for preliminary engineering for the project, which would connect Ballard’s Market Street area to Downtown Seattle. The plans include a rail-only bridge near the Ballard Bridge, and an elevated guideway through Interbay along 15th Ave NW and Elliott Ave W before transitioning to a new downtown Seattle light rail tunnel. The new tunnel would then run through Uptown and South Lake Union along Westlake Ave to Sixth and Fifth Avenues before reaching the International District.

The Ballard and West Seattle extensions are part of the Sound Transit 3 Plan that voters approved last fall. The project includes extending light rail to West Seattle by 2030, building a second downtown tunnel in conjunction with the extension to Ballard, with Ballard service beginning in 2035.

Sound Transit plans to start a community engagement process in 2018. More information about the West Seattle and Ballard project, including how to sign up for project updates, is available at www.soundtransit.org/wsblink.

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