Last Friday, as part of the Annapurna business mitigation contest, Sound Transit invited media to tag along on their U-Link walking tour. We were given the rare opportunity to walk the entire 3 miles underground, departing from UW Station around 2pm and emerging a couple blocks east of Westlake just after 4pm.
U-Link is now 85% complete and still on track for an early 2016 opening. UW Station is about 95% complete, and Capitol Hill station just over 50% complete. About a third of the track and electrical is finished, and no OCS (overhead catenary) is yet installed.
Approaching UW Station:
Construction near the pedestrian overpass of Montlake Boulevard:
Looking toward the north end of UW station. Note the center platform:
The ‘demising wall’, which will separate U-Link operations from North Link construction (apologies for the blur):
Bruce Gray holding down the fort:
Looking south toward the twin bores to Capitol Hill. Note that the crossover tracks will be built here for terminal use between 2016-2021, and for turnback service after 2021 in the event of service disruptions:
Walking from UW Station into the southbound bore, where tracks are not quite yet installed:
One of a couple dozen cross-passages for emergency use.
Inside the cross-passages:
The rails coming together. From here south the rails are installed:
Hi-Rail vehicle working just North of Capitol Hill Station:
The long straightaway between Montlake and Volunteer Park ending, with the tracks curving left to approach Capitol Hill Station:
“Now approaching Capitol Hill Station. Doors to my left.”
Interior of Capitol Hill Station. The “Kissing Pink Fighter Jets” art installation will hang suspended in between the pillars:
Capitol Hill Station:
Now in the northbound bore, the tracks briefly turn left to accommodate a gentler grade into Westlake:
This test section between Capitol Hill and Westlake will be a prototype of a ‘floating slab’ designed to reduce vibrations to within a tolerance of 5hz. If successful, this design will be included underneath UW, a required mitigation to protect laboratory equipment:
Crossing under I-5, the northwestward arc ends and the trains turn southwest to approach Westlake:
Approaching the end of the tour, the TBM receiving pit on Pine just east of the Paramount Theatre:
Daylight, and the end of the tour:
Behind the arch you can see the ULink ‘demising wall’, separating U-Link from Central Link: