East Link Extension

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For other uses, see Eastlink (disambiguation).
East Link map
Redmond Town Center
SE Redmond
Redmond Technology Center
Overlake Village
Spring District/120th
Bellevue Downtown
East Main
South Bellevue
Lake Washington
Mercer Island
Lake Washington
Judkins Park
Central Link

The East Link Extension is a planned Sound Transit Link Light Rail line, spanning about 22 miles from Downtown Seattle eastward to the city of Redmond. Funding for construction of the portion of East Link between Downtown Seattle and Overlake Transit Center was approved by voters in November 2008, while the final segment between Overlake Transit Center and Downtown Redmond was identified as a priority extension in a future expansion measure. As of early 2012, construction of East Link was projected to begin in 2015, with the line opening for service as far as Overlake in 2023.[1]


On April 25, 2013, the Sound Transit board decided on a final route for East link,[2] which will go from the International District/Chinatown Station in Seattle across Lake Washington and Mercer Island, through Bellevue and over Interstate 405 to Overlake Transit Center in Redmond.[3] Voters in Bellevue, Washington approved the Link light rail extension from Seattle, across Lake Washington on Interstate 90, through Bellevue and on to the Overlake Transit Center in Redmond.[4] The project is currently in the final design phase, with construction scheduled to begin in 2015 and service expected to start in 2023.[4] An estimated 50,000 passengers will use East Link every day by 2030.[5]

From the International District/Chinatown Station, trains will travel on existing ramps to the Interstate 90 express lanes from the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, possibly in mixed traffic with buses. Currently, the I-90 express lanes carry vehicle traffic (both single-occupancy vehicles and high-occupancy vehicles (HOV)), but will be modified to serve only trains, and an all-day HOV lane will be added to each direction of the I-90 bridge.[6] The trains will use the center roadway from Seattle through the Mount Baker Tunnel, across Lake Washington on the Homer M. Hadley Memorial Bridge, under Aubrey Davis Park on Mercer Island, and on the East Channel Bridge to South Bellevue. Trains will turn and head north from I-90 along Bellevue Way and 112th, before cutting across to Main and I-405. In Downtown Bellevue, the trains will go through a tunnel underneath 110th, a plan that the board decided upon in July 2011.[1] From there, trains will head east at NE 12th street past Overlake Hospital through the Bel-Red industrial area along NE 16th street. In the Overlake neighborhood, trains will connect with State Route 520 and head north towards Downtown Redmond and Redmond Town Center.[7]

Technical challenges[edit]

When the light rail line is completed, it will be the first time that a light rail line has operated on a floating bridge. Challenges faced by Sound Transit include stray current, expansion and contraction of the bridge itself, weight of the rail infrastructure (rails, catenary, etc.), weight of the light rail vehicles, and the expansion joint on either end of the bridge.


Name City/Neighborhood Location Other
From North Link via University Link and the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel
East Link (Downtown Seattle - Bellevue - Redmond)
International District/Chinatown International District Under S. Jackson St. and 5th Ave. S. Connections to Central Link, Sounder Commuter Rail and First Hill Streetcar
Judkins Park Central District In the median of Interstate 90 at Rainier Ave. S.
Mercer Island Mercer Island In the median of Interstate 90 at 77th Ave. S.E. Park & ride improvements
South Bellevue Bellevue Above Bellevue Way S.E. at 112th Ave. S.E. Park & ride, bus transfer improvements
East Main Bellevue At Main St. and S.E. 112th Ave.
Bellevue Downtown Bellevue Under 110th Ave. N.E. at N.E. 6th St. Serves Bellevue Transit Center
Wilburton Bellevue Above N.E. 8th St. along BNSF Woodinville Subdivision corridor
Spring District/120th Bellevue On N.E. 16th St. at 120th Ave. N.E.
Bel-Red/130th Bellevue On N.E. 16th St. at 130th Ave. N.E.
Overlake Village Bellevue, Redmond Next to State Route 520 at 152nd Ave. N.E.
Redmond Technology Center Redmond Next to State Route 520 at N.E. 40th St. Serves Redmond Technology Park (Microsoft, Nintendo, etc.)
End of light rail extension funded by Sound Transit 2
S.E. Redmond Redmond Next to SR 520/Avondale Road at N.E. 70th St Park & ride improvements, near Marymoor Park
Redmond Town Center Redmond Possibly on BNSF Right of Way at Leary Way (Undecided) Serves Redmond Town Center
End of line


  1. ^ a b "East Link Project Update" (PDF). Sound Transit. January 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  2. ^ Lindblom, Mike. "Sound Transit signs off on Bellevue’s light-rail route". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Lindblom, Mike. "In historic step, Bellevue approves light-rail route". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Light Rail and Bellevue". City of Bellevue. Retrieved 2014-07-09. 
  5. ^ "East Link Extension". Sound Transit. Retrieved 2014-07-09. 
  6. ^ "I-90 - Two-Way Transit and HOV Operations". Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  7. ^ "East Link Preferred Alternatives" (PDF). Sound Transit. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 

External links[edit]