How’s that for “shovel ready”? Sound Transit broke ground today for University Link, the extension of light rail from Downtown Seattle through Capitol Hill to the University of Washington at Husky Stadium. Initial work involves utility relocation, making way for station and tunnel excavation scheduled to begin late this year and last approximately three years.
The groundbreaking marked the beginning of the end of the 1996 Sound Move plan, and was a day many who worked on this original plan thought would never come. Today’s milestone is certainly something to celebrate.
When completed, U-Link will offer a seven minute ride between Downtown Seattle and the University, and Sound Transit estimates the U-Link line alone will add an incredible 70,000 daily boardings to the system by 2030. Martin also mentioned yesterday that bringing light rail further north offers many opportunities to improve bus service for the area.
In the shorter term, University Link will generate an estimated much-needed 2,900 direct construction jobs and 22,800 other direct and indirect jobs as result of economic activity generated by the project.
Even though I’m extremely excited for July when Central Link opens, I already can’t wait for 2016!