Option B, 112th Ave SE Crossing

Next Monday, Bellevue will hold another East Link public hearing, this time in response to city’s approval of the “flyover to trench” alignment along 112th as well as recent updates to the MOU with Sound Transit. The MOU, which outlines the shared tunnel-funding agreement, has actually already been approved by the ST Board provided that the Bellevue city council will reciprocate the move within two weeks time.

The hearing might possibly be one last-ditch effort by East Link opponents to try and halt the project. But if you’re interested in seeing East Link come to fruition, this is a meeting you’ll want to attend. You can RSVP with TCC here.

21 Replies to “Action Alert: Bellevue Hearing on the East Link MOU”

  1. I wonder if ST will reconsider going elevated all the way from south belevue P&R then. It just seems stupid to go from elevated to trench (at winters house) then elevated then back to trench in a span of a couple miles. Why wouldnt they just stay elevated like the B2E proposal, then drop into a trench right before Surrey Downs. I realised this study did not consider this (becuase it was not considered part of the study area) but i think it should be looked at.

    I also wonder why the visual renderings of any of the options do not include the noise mitigation. The study shows a 6-8′ sound wall for option A. Im sure that would hurt views from street level far more than an elevated stucture.

    1. ST and City of Bellevue could agree to additional or streamlined mitigation, including via the process of mutual agreement to amend the Memorandum of Understanding.

      But City of Bellevue ought to show some good faith by agreeing to let East Link come through along the preferred alignment even if the final engineering hasn’t been decided upon. People on all sides need a green light so they can start planning accordingly.

    2. The comments I heard most at the last meeting were against the fly-over because of noise. And what’s with the tracks north of TIB? The ride will rattle your fillings out! That can’t be fixed with grinding. Of course any at grade crossing will have the attendant audible warnings. The trench is by far the winner when it comes to reducing sound and if there’s no train you don’t even see the tracks. I think the fly-over is also the most costly. I’m pretty sure doing the whole route elevated would be prohibitively more expensive. You end up digging up just as much dirt or more to sink the required foundations. I wonder if going under the roadway has been looked at. Even if it requires building an overpass that might be cheaper. You only have to span the width of two tracks which can be done with prestress concrete beams, you know exactly how high it needs to be for the trains and the tracks will already be in a trench.

      One concern I have with the trench is what happens when we get 2-3 feet of wet heavy snow and then a hard freeze?

      1. Someone from the Bellevue Club had suggested going under 112th instead of over, but I’m not sure if ST or the city looked at it seriously. It seemed like a good idea to me. You’d think building a short bridge for 112th to get over the already depressed tracks would be cheaper than the long elevated structure needed for the trains to get over 112th.

      2. A retained cut under 112th was studied and rejected due to costs and soil conditions along the route.

        The elevated option features relatively bad localized visual impacts while the at-grade option has auditory impacts. There is no one best solution.

      3. “There is no one best solution”

        I think you meant to say there is NO GOOD SOLUTION.

        As a result, ST will either have to a) disregard the people of Surrey Downs and be honest with them regarding the real goal (total annihilation via R60/R90), or b) go somewhere else.

        We are spending too much time and money creating an inadequate compromise solution.

      4. I remember hearing that the City had a hell of a time with soil conditions building SE 8th. Something about building through swamps. But if they are going with a retained cut on either side… And generally the deeper you go the better for soil stability. An elevated structure is going to have to start quiet a ways south which means they’ll still be in the infamous peat bog. I’d sure like to see more engineering info about why raising the road instead of raising the tracks isn’t feasible.

      5. Bellevue Resident: I think what Zed is saying is that, rather than elevating the tracks, what about elevating 112th?

      6. Ah, but in this State we know how to build pontoons. All ST has to do is make the concrete ties hollow and they can float the tracks right up to downtown :=

      7. Oh, one of the problems with elevating 112th Ave SE is that East Link would go north to south while 112th goes at a 45 degree angle. It would be a long tunnel and/or bridge and may require expensive ventilation. If I recall correctly ST did not fully study the concept due to the price and challenges they saw, even under intense political pressure.

        And, apparently if you tried to retain cut under 112th (keeping the road level) ST would have to stay in a retained cut from the Winters house and through the SE 4th intersection, very cost prohibitive.

        @Belleviewer I live near the Safeway Distribution Plant and I don’t get a say about the development which will happen there, why does Surrey Downs get the benefit of vetoing a transit project on an existing arterial?

      8. Noisy compared to what? Modern elevated rail does not need to be noisy like 19th century elevated trains on open metal viaducts. I live near a bunch of elevated lines (running on modern concrete viaducts), and … well it’s not a big deal. A major road is much more annoying.

      9. Oh, one of the problems with elevating 112th Ave SE is that East Link would go north to south while 112th goes at a 45 degree angle.

        But the fly-over suffers from the same problem and the added distance required because of starting and then returning to a grade below the roadway. Conversly a road span has the advantage of the tracks already being below grade. Plus Link ROW is only what, about 30′ whereas 112th is over 100′. 112th is a divided arterial where Link will cross, right? (I think the Link takes you to the wrong intersection of 112th and B’view Wy). That means two cheaper bridges that can be done in series to keep traffic moving. A train requires at least double the load bearing capability and it’s going to have to span a much greater distance.

      10. It’s much more expensive to elevate a road than to elevate the rail. There’s a lot more structure involved. Even if the soil conditions were ideal, it would probably still be cheaper to have the tracks elevated, with a long ramp, rather than elevating a short stretch of road.

      11. The CH2M Hill report pegged the increase to the baseline for the flyover at $10-20 million. The new Redmond 36th street bridge was only $30 million total, spans 480 feet and creates a freeway park. I have a hard time believing spanning a double track rail ROW that’s already in a trench is going to be more expensive. Even with the 45 degree crossing it’s less than a 50′ span. The abuttments can be retaining walls with fill and the structural supports can be fabricated off site. And the entire job site already has roadway access whereas the Link fly-over will require temporary access roads be built in the wetlands and then re-mediated.

  2. I overheard a ST employee tell someone at the Roosevelt station open house the other night that East Link riders would get a one-seat ride to the airport, whereas those on North Link would have to transfer at the ID/Chinatown station. Please say it ain’t so!!!
    (I had to leave early, otherwise I would have stayed to get more info on this.)

    1. That would be silly if not outright impossible. Most East Link riders are trying to get downtown. Making them all transfer just short of the DSTT doesn’t make sense. Maybe that employee has inside information about East Link being rerouted to the 405 corridor instead of using I-90 :=

    2. East Link will be reusing much of the infrastructure that currently allows buses to enter the tunnel from I-90. Like Oran says, it isn’t physically possible to directly connect the two lines.

      Also, the usage of North Link is expected to equal that of East and Airport Link combined.

      When East Link opens, there will be two service patterns; some trains will go from Northgate to the airport, and some will go from Northgate to the Eastside. (It might be a bit more complex, but it’s the same basic idea.)

    3. this PDF shows how East Link will connect with the existing Central Link line in the DSTT

      the connection will require 3 new switches which will take Central Link down for some time I would imagine (hopefully they will figure out how to do the construction quickly)

      The only thing still up in the air is whether or not any or all the DTSS stations will receive a center platform (which should be possible to build in most of the stations (the issues will be the space needed for stairs/escalators and elevators for the disabled)


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