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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Council Roundup: East Link discussion continues

Also, Newcastle Beach Park passes clean water tests

The City Council Monday continued its oversight of negotiations between Bellevue and Sound Transit over a binding agreement that details where and how the East Link light rail line will come through Bellevue.

After reaching a non-binding agreement in August, the two sides are attempting to hammer out a binding memorandum of understanding, or MOU, in advance of an Oct. 25 deadline.

Of the many items the MOU will address, the most important is how the city will contribute to the cost of a downtown light rail tunnel, which the council unanimously supports but is more expensive than the street level alternative. The city's upfront share would be approximately $100 million in credit towards the cost of the tunnel. Up to $60 million more could come as part of a "contingent" contribution, depending on the final costs of the East Link project.

The council is grappling with how to keep its tunnel contribution cost down, and how the city's contribution will impact its ability to pay for other capital projects in the future.

Other issues to be addressed in the MOU include: revisions to the light rail route along 112th Avenue Southeast to minimize noise, traffic and visual impacts; the permitting process for light rail; and a dispute resolution procedure.

The East Link light rail line will run from Seattle, through Bellevue, to the Overlake area of Redmond. Construction is forecast to begin by 2015 and service is expected to start by 2023.

Council study session item 
Light Rail and Bellevue 

Feedback: Bernard Van de Kamp, Regional Projects Manager, 425-452-6459 or bvandekamp@bellevuewa.gov

Newcastle Beach Park gets clean bill
Extensive testing of the water and soil in and around Newcastle Beach Park showed no significant pollution or health risk, staff reported to the council Monday.

In April the council asked for the testing in response to a neighbor's concerns about the potential impacts of stormwater runoff on the park. The resident had argued that construction projects on nearby Interstate 405 had increased runoff to the park and that the water draining from the highway through the park to Lake Washington was polluted.

The city hired an independent consultant that both the city and resident agreed upon. Otak, Inc., with an office in Kirkland, reviewed water samples collected by the city and the resident, performed additional testing and reviewed data collected by the state Department of Ecology. 

Otak and the DOE determined that I-405 projects had not increased runoff in the area, meeting all drainage requirements in the vicinity of Newcastle Beach Park.

Regarding possible pollution, of more than 1,200 tests analyzed, only nine samples showed slightly elevated levels of industrial compounds. Otak concluded that those results were isolated instances of compounds common to the region. They were not representative of overall conditions at the park, nor do they pose a health risk, the consultant said.

Feedback: Rick Logwood, Capital Projects Manager, 425-452-6858 or rlogwood@bellevuewa.gov

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