News spread Monday that the giant boring machine at work beneath Seattle to drill the new waterfront tunnel is stuck behind some sort of “mystery object” some 60 feet below the surface. It’s a reminder just how incredibly smooth the journey has been for the Sound Transit project to create the nearly three-mile-long set of twin tunnels and two stations that will connect through Capitol Hill to form the new U-Link light rail extension.
The duo of Sound Transit tunnel boring machines that worked on the project and completed the routes in May 2012 were “extraordinarily lucky and didn’t run into any unforeseen obstacles or major delays,” a Sound Transit spokesperson tells CHS. The only sign of trouble at the surface during the yearlong journey was this October 2011 incident when a burst of dirty water briefly flooded E Pike as one of several “observation wells” along the route that hadn’t been properly filled in allowed the boring machine’s concrete and grout to spew to the street above.
Not everybody will remember the U-Link tunneling as flawless, however. Some residents along the route complained of vibrations from the construction process shaking homes and causing peculiar, sleep-ruining sounds. Meanwhile, the excavations also ran into a few — smaller — unexpected items when these artifacts of old Seattle were found deep below ground near the Paramount Theater.
The project’s excellent construction progress so far has helped Sound Transit begin planning an earlier-than-expected start of service for the line in 2016. The experienced gained will also help the agency when it builds the Queen Anne Tunnel.
Meanwhile, the next phase of the $1.9 billion project is underway as crews continue to work to construct the Capitol Hill Station structure that will serve thousands of daily riders and be the center of blocks of new Broadway development. Sound Transit has scheduled “drop-in” meetings to update the community on the construction:
Capitol Hill Station drop-in sessions
Drop on by! Let’s have a chat. Come visit to ask questions regarding construction of the Capitol Hill light rail station.
December 10, 2013
3:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Seattle Central Community College
December 15, 2013
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Broadway Farmer’s Market
An important topic of conversation will certainly be the impact from a big change to Broadway –the Broadway pedestrian concourse:
Construction of the Broadway pedestrian concourse to start January 2014
When the Capitol Hill Link Light Rail Station opens in 2016, an underground pedestrian concourse will allow riders to access the station from the west side of Broadway. To build the underground west entrance, Sound Transit’s contractors must excavate portions of the road and sidewalks on Broadway between E Howell Street and E Denny Way.
Get ready for a pinched Broadway to start 2014:
Capitol Hill Station Transit Oriented Development
The construction effort isn’t the only outlay of blood, sweat and tears underway around the project. The effort to sell off the property around the future light rail station is still being sorted out — along with how the community-shaped, City of Seattle-mandated development agreement that trades increased zoning heights for affordable housing guarantees will be applied in the process.
Representatives for the development process from the Capitol Hill Community Council and the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce are distributing a survey asking those who live, work and play around the Hill once again to weigh in on priorities for the various properties to be developed.
“Many elements of the Capitol Hill neighborhood vision have been solidified in Development Agreement between Seattle City Council and Sound Transit,” the introduction to the new survey reads. “Some other elements need further advocacy to ensure their implementation.”