Northgate Link light rail extension to open for service fall 2021

The Northgate Link light rail extension will open to passengers October 2. Sound Transit made the announcement Friday in a news release of the projected under-budget light rail extension.

The 4.3-mile extension connects Northgate and downtown Seattle with stops at three new stations, two underground (Seattle's UDistrict and Roosevelt neighborhoods), and a stop at an elevated station in Northgate. All but 0.8 miles of the extension will be on the elevated extension. Sound Transit says passengers will be able to commute between locations in roughly 14 minutes, traffic-free. 

Sound Transit Northgate Link light rail extension. Courtesy: Sound Transit

"With Northgate’s completion Sound Transit will enter an exciting period of opening major light extensions every year through 2024, nearly tripling the region’s light rail system from 22 miles to 62 miles," said Sound Transit Board Chair and University Place Mayor Kent Keel.

Sound Transit and regional transit providers are working to coincide the extension fall service changes with additional bus and express routes to provide a congestion-free transportation experience. The project- estimated around 1.9 billion - will provide long-term savings for regional taxpayers, according to Sound Transit.

The extension coincides with Northgate construction for an NHL Seattle facility for the newly installed Kraken team.

"The Northgate Link light rail extension will open in tandem with the NHL Seattle’s new training facility, positioning the area for an explosive economic recovery," said Sound Transit Board Member and Seattle City Council Member Debora Juarez. "Many of the training facility’s 800,000 annual visitors will share the light rail with North Seattle College students traveling downtown to start their new careers in technology, engineering, medicine, and business. Access to opportunity is everything, and a well-connected North End benefits all of Seattle."

In 2008, voters approved a Northgate Link extension as part of the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure. Planning started and construction began in 2012. Guideway construction was completed by 2018 and by 2019 rail installation was finalized. Construction at all three stations finished in early 2021 and light rail test trains began operating to test overhead electrical power and train signal systems.

Service extension to Tacoma's Hilltop is estimated to open 2022, East King County by 2023, and Lynnwood and Federal Way by 2024, Keel said. Further extensions are projected to extend as far south as DuPont and as far north as Everett, nearly tripling available light rail service spanning 62 miles.  

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