More details on the light rail ‘boom’ — Plus, upcoming meeting on construction wall art

Another Sound Transit construction update meeting is coming up on April 14th where, among other things, they’ll be talking about what color the construction wall will be painted. Some of you might hope the following issue is resolved well before then. From the CHS comments:

Talked with ST, and that lovely loud knocking noise that starts at 7am will continue through May.

I would suspect that for many hill residents living nearby, having auger noise “later in the evening” (until 7pm) may be less of a hassle than having auger noise starting at 7am that is louder than my alarm clock. 

If you are interested in asking politely that they shift the crew schedule so that the augering starts and ends later in the day, call ST and let them know. I know I am not the only night owl on the hill.

CHS caught a little of the booming in this recording made from Cal Anderson. It sounds like construction — but, yeah, you can also hear how those in the immediate vicinity might appreciate a later start.

Sound Transit construction by jseattle

We checked in with Sound Transit about any community issues that have been raised that might be addressed in the April 14th session — they told CHS the agenda will mostly focus on the process to cover the sound wall in art (more on that below — we’ll check again with ST to see if there’s anything that can be done about the time of day ‘loud’ processes are started.

First, more from Sound Transit about the jet grouting process that necessitates the pounding:

Capitol Hill Station construction status Before the excavation of the Capitol Hill Station can begin, there is a great deal of work needed to prepare the site, including building the construction wall, relocating utilities, and jet grouting. The goal is to complete this work and begin excavating the station in late spring.

The jet grouting is now underway on the south side of the site. Sound Transit’s contractor will drill about forty holes down to an approximate depth of ninety-feet and inject cement-based material into the ground. The jet grouting will stabilize the ground for the passage of the tunnel boring machine (TBM). Jet grouting will also take place on the north side of the site and the whole process will take about two months to complete.

The contractor is also installing soldier piles and lagging around the site. Piles are drilled into the ground and wooden or steel planks are placed between the steel beams to hold the earth in place and prevent the sides of the excavation from collapsing once digging begins.

In addition, Sound Transit and the Seattle Deptartment of Transportation are partnering to build pedestrian improvements along the main haul routes that will be used by trucks hauling materials to and from the construction site. Starting in April and lasting for several years, trucks will be hauling dirt and other materials to and from the construction site using the designated haul routes on Olive Way and Denny Way. The new pedestrian improvements include adding a crosswalk and pedestrian island on Olive Way at Boylston Avenue and building a curb bulb at Denny Way and Boylston Avenue. Both of these projects are now complete. For more information on these and other improvements, click here.

A public meeting to discuss these activities is scheduled on April 14, from 6:30-8:30 pm (see the meeting announcement below). For the latest construction information, please visit our website, or contact Rhonda Dixon at (206) 370-5569 or

CHS reported on the pedestrian improvements mentioned by ST here and here.

As for the topic Sound Transit told us the April 14 meeting will focus on, we reported earlier on the selection of artist D.K. Pan to coordinate the construction wall art. Here’s what ST says about Pan in its most recent construction update bulletin:

Sound Transit is pleased to announce that local artist D.K. Pan has been commissioned to serve as the lead artist and curator of temporary artworks for the construction walls around the Capitol Hill light rail station. Pan is director and co-founder of the Free Sheep Foundation and is well respected in the local arts scene. His experience as curator of the Bridge Motel and the Moore Inside Out projects and urban aesthetic makes Pan a good fit to lead this project. Community representatives participated on the artist selection panel.

Pan will be responsible for creating a master plan for temporary art, including commissioning the work of local artists to create a cohesive look and feel on nearly 25,000 square feet of construction walls. He is optimistic about his ability to attract quality submissions: “Rarely does a public art commission appear which challenges the community and artists to respond and represent the place so many call home, where many came of age. Capitol Hill is the soul of the city – it is my hope that the expressions which arise from this project be as fierce and authentic as the spirit of the neighborhood.”

D.K. has already begun working on potential themes for the collection and one of his first tasks will be to select a base color of paint for the wall. He will be attending the Capitol Hill construction open house on April 14, and is looking forward to discussing his preliminary ideas and soliciting feedback from the community.

So, what color should the wall be, Capitol Hill? CHS votes for utility. Can we get a wall of shiny, reflective mirror please? CHS needs to make sure he looks good when on the beat.

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

4 thoughts on “More details on the light rail ‘boom’ — Plus, upcoming meeting on construction wall art

  1. Of course – battleship gray – dull and dreary.

    Hint – Navy surplus, very cheap paint, which the govt. pays a fortune to get.

  2. How about chalkboard paint? We can all have pieces of big sidewalk chalk that we can scribble what we’re thinking?

  3. So what I want to know is will the fence be coming down when the art goes up or what? If there’s going to be art up, I wouldn’t want a fence right in front of it… and it doesn’t seem to be preventing graffiti anyway.