Lake Washington’s rapid transit expansion reaches key moment

A general view of Lake Washington from Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jeff Halstead / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

A critical component of the future of the Puget Sound area’s transit system, rapid bus transportation from Burien to Lynnwood and Shoreline to Bothell, has just been finalized.

At a Sound Transit board meeting on August 26, Bothell’s Canyon Park was unanimously confirmed as the location of the North Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) maintenance base that will serve the Interstate 405 and State Route 522. The base is expected to open in 2025, upon completion of its final design.

This vote represents a definitive step towards the completion of Sound Transit’s rapid transit program, called “Stride,” which will serve communities north, east and south of Lake Washington with transportation bus lines. in common, connected to light rail transitions.

“The Stride program includes 45 miles of planned service with three lines and a maintenance facility,” said Bernard van de Kamp, East Corridor Development Director for HCT. “Project development is almost complete for these components. “

The basic maintenance project will serve the following roads:

  • I-405 South from Bellevue to Burien (2026)
  • I-405 North from Bellevue to Lynnwood (2027)
  • SR 522/145 from Shoreline to Bothell (2026)

The basic maintenance project will house parking for 120 buses, provide refueling stations for its vehicles, build BRT’s operation and control center and support infrastructure for battery-powered electric buses. The language of the maintenance database construction summary of resolution states that “10 battery-electric buses … will operate on the SR 522 / 145e line”, and that the base “will accommodate future conversion to a fully battery-electric fleet”.

The 10 battery-powered electric buses represent Sound Transit’s first foray into such technology. The base will provide overnight chargers and conduits will be installed to facilitate future expansion of battery-powered electric bus technology if the first 10 prove successful. A representative speaking on behalf of Sound Transit told MyNorthwest about the agency’s plans to switch to the fully battery-powered electric fleet.

“Sound Transit does not have specific plans for additional BEBs at this time,” wrote Public Information Officer Rachelle Cunningham. “The Agency’s sustainability plan includes a long-term goal (2050) to achieve carbon-free operations, as well as short-term goals (2024) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10%, and to plan the bus bases for convertibility to zero-emission technologies.

Of the 120 buses that will be stored on the maintenance base, 80 will be articulated diesel hybrid buses, of which 10 will be battery-electric. The other 40 vehicles will be double-decker buses.

The figure of 120 buses represents an increase over previous versions of the project. As ST3 was refined, 40 Sound Transit Express buses were added to the project to “partially meet …

“There is a regional lack of basic bus capacity,” Cunningham wrote. “Sound Transit currently relies on its partner transit agencies for the operation and storage of buses. Increasing the capacity of the base without increasing the footprint (land requirements) will alleviate some of this pressure on capacity and allow for future flexibility. “

The project is expected to cost $ 290 million. Analysis of the estimate was conducted by Triunity, a management and engineering consulting group that was hired by Sound Transit for $774 130. The planned construction cost for the maintenance base has been included in the recent “realignment” to ST3, and therefore will not cause delay to the transit expansion project.

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Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2024, subject to the Sound Transit Board schedule being set in 2022 and 2023.


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