All that’s left is a work week.
Five years ago, all this construction was just getting started. I remember driving south with my friend Andy Walker to watch SoDo and Stadium stations go up next to the busway, see the piles driven for the operations base, round holes start to appear in the ground near International Boulevard.
At that point, we didn’t even know where the stations were going to be until we saw them start to take shape. As MLK was replaced, the trip through the valley was a little different every weekend, crossing temporary bits of asphalt here and there to avoid flattened dirt and eventually drive on new concrete slabs. The track went in last – long before that, we figured out where the platforms would be from the wide, empty spaces between the new road.
Tukwila was the most interesting part for a long time. The big supporting columns went up first, tubes sticking out of the ground with crosspieces – one for the platform, one for the mezzanine. Then bits of trackway were stuck between them, steel beams holding up segments to be tensioned together. Finally the gantry arrived in pieces, stacked up yellow frames in the dirt becoming a giant crane destined to walk from pylon to pylon all the way to I-5.
Five years ago, I had just come back from Japan, I had seen what was possible, seen livable cities where transit was absolutely key, and the timing just happened to be perfect – as I returned, we were just beginning.
Five more days and things will start to change.