As we reported last week the B-segment of East Link is still not finalized, with the City of Bellevue going through a blitz of public engagement over the next week. Tonight the city will hold an open house to get feedback from the public on the latest design options, and next Monday the City Council will address the topic at it’s regular meeting time.
Yesterday, the city released design drawing showing two design options that have been further refined through coordination between the City and Sound Transit. Option B, shown above, is a fully grade separate option with both elevated and retained cut segments. The elevated segment crosses 112th Ave SE at roughly SE 15th St, first reported here. The elevated crossing and retained cut design further north eliminates the only two at-grade crossings between Seattle and downtown Bellevue, assuming a downtown tunnel (C9T) is built. Option C is an at-grade design with Link crossing from the east side of 112th Ave SE to the west side at SE 15th St. Option A is essentially the original B2M at-grade design with Link crossing 112th Ave SE at SE 6th St. The changes reflected in Option B and C are in response to the city’s insistence that Sound Transit use “exceptional mitigation” for design of this segment.
Finances for East Link are already strained, and while Option B is undoubtedly the most expensive, it could be a win for both sides. It would meet the city’s desire for exceptional mitigation while giving Sound Transit a higher quality design, with completely grade-separate operations between downtown Bellevue and Seattle. This would increase reliability and slightly reduce travel time, and combined with a downtown Bellevue tunnel, could give Sound Transit more operational flexibility over the long term.