In order to complete systems upgrades in advance of University Link’s opening, still 15-17 months away, Link will be entirely shut down on Saturday, November 15th. Bus replacement service will be offered in two variants:
- For those who pine for the old 194, Route 97A will offer nonstop express service from SeaTac to Westlake (3rd/Pine)
- Route 97 will make all stops between Westlake and SeaTac Airport except Beacon Hill and Mount Baker, which will see no replacement service.
Due to SDOT construction, riders at Beacon Hill and Mount Baker should prepare for additional travel time and reduced frequency. Route 36 (22 minutes) is 69% slower than Link (13 minutes) between Westlake and Beacon Hill, while Route 7 (30 minutes) is 100% slower than Link (15 minutes) between Westlake and Mount Baker. In addition, cash payers headed to Beacon Hill should plan an additional $.25 fare, as Route 36 is $2.25 vs. Link’s $2.00. Finally, riders headed to Mt Baker from SeaTac, Tukwila, or the Rainier Valley should be prepared for a transfer to Route 8, which runs every 15 minutes during the day but only every 30 minutes after 7:30pm.
At the time of publishing, there is no information yet on Metro’s alerts page, but Sound Transit sources confirm that this will be a full closure of the Downtown Transit Tunnel as well. Riders on weekend tunnel routes (41, 71, 72, 73, 101, 106, 150, 255, and 550) should board at designated surface locations. Sound Transit staff will be on hand at Westlake to help direct both ST and Metro passengers to appropriate stops.
UPDATE: I emailed Bruce Gray for further information on the closure, and more specifics about the system upgrades, and this is his response:
[The] Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system [is] being upgraded. It’s the system that essentially tracks and can control where all the trains are on the line at any given moment. The upgrades include new displays and hardware at the Link Control Center and the communications software and hardware system wide that talk to the LCC. We may also have to do similar shutdowns in the spring as we upgrade the emergency ventilation systems and building management systems for the underground stations. Think of it like going from Windows 95 to Windows 10.
It wasn’t an easy decision to take the entire line down for these upgrades, but the more the engineers looked at it, the more sense it made to do the cutover over the span of one service day instead of piecemeal during the brief overnight maintenance windows.
Sound Transit’s full release after the jump.
On Saturday, Nov. 15, the entire Link light rail line will be closed for system upgrades to prepare for extending service to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington in early 2016.
If possible, we recommend that you adjust your schedule or use alternative travel options such as taxis and shuttles.
Sound Transit and partners are also offering these shuttle bus services:
Route 97A – Express service to/from downtown Seattle (Westlake) and Sea-Tac Airport only
To Airport: Get on the bus at 3rd and Pine downtown.
To downtown: Board at the bus stop at International Boulevard and South 173rd Street near the Link station (follow this map).
Route 97 – Service between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport
Tukwila Int’l Blvd Station
Rainier Beach Station
Columbia City Station
International District Station
Pioneer Square Station
University Street Station
This Link shuttle does not serve Mount Baker and Beacon Hill stations. Here are bus options for those neighborhoods:
From Beacon Hill
To Downtown/Westlake: Board Route 36 north.
To Sea-Tac Airport: Board Route 36 south and transfer to Route 97 at Othello Station.
From Mt. Baker
To Downtown/Westlake: Take Route 7 north.
To Sea-Tac Airport: Board Route 8 south at Mt. Baker Transit Center and transfer to Route 97 at Columbia City Station. After 12:27 a.m., board Route 7 south to Columbia City, walk to Columbia City Station and board Route 97.
For live updates during the closure, follow Sound Transit on twitter at twitter.com/SoundTransit. Thank you for your patience during these upgrades.