The Seattle Department of Transportation, which is handling funding and construction for the King County Metro line, estimates the project will cost $14.6 – $17.5 million, with $9.4 million already secured through federal grants. Construction will include installing trolley poles, overhead wires, and traction power sub stations. The second phase of the project is expected to get underway next year, setting up the 48 to go electric in 2018.
Now that the 48 has been split from the northern half, electrification is much easier than it would have been for the 48 that ran to Loyal Heights. There are just two segments of 23rd Avenue, totaling 1.7 miles, in need of electrification. We first wrote about the possibility of an electrified 48S back in 2011. It looks like all the funding is coming together. Happy times.
The 48 runs along SDOT’s RapidRide+ Corridor 4, which exends south to Rainier Beach, setting up a potential restructure that combines the 48 with the already-electrified 7. That’s a long way off, however. SDOT’s Bill Bryant told me that the “key for both the Rainier and 23rd corridor services is that they will become RapidRide lines.” Combining them into a single route, Bryant said, would only happen after a good deal of analysis and public outreach. As we’ve learned, messing with the northern half of the 7, from Mount Baker to the ID, could be difficult.
An electric, RapidRide+ 48 with BAT lanes and signal priority running on a newly-repaved 23rd Ave will be a big boost for the CD. It’ll be even better once frequent connections to Madison BRT (2019) and East Link at Judkins Park (2023) open.