Construction of the East Link tunnel in downtown Bellevue began in March 2016 and will connect the East Main light rail station to the Downtown Bellevue light rail station. Construction of the tunnel was bid by Sound Transit as a separate project from the light rail stations being built within the City. As more information about the tunnel project becomes available, this webpage will be updated.
Learn more; stay informed:
Q: Where is the tunnel being built?
A: The tunnel, approximately 0.5 mile-long, will extend from Main Street at 112th Avenue SE (south portal) to NE 6th Street (north portal). The south portal of the tunnel is just north of the East Main station; the north portal is at the future Bellevue Downtown Station. (Bellevue Downtown Station FAQ)
Q: How is the tunnel being built?
A: Tunneling will be performed by Sequential Excavation Method (SEM) which involves digging out small sections of soil using an excavator and cutting equipment. As soon as soil is removed, pressurized concrete is sprayed on the tunnel’s sides, ceiling and floor. This tunneling method does not involve a tunnel boring machine. SEM minimizes impacts to surface streets, traffic and reduces noise and dust.
Q: What is the construction timeline for the tunnel?
A: Construction began in March 2016 and tunnel excavation is anticipated to begin in late fall 2016. Initial construction activities involved the removal of structures and vegetation along Main Street and 112th Avenue SE. Crews also began preparing the soil for tunneling activities at the north portal on 110th Ave NE between NE 4th and NE 6th Streets.
Q: What road impacts are expected during tunnel construction?
A: In mid-June 2016 near the north portal, a portion of 110th Avenue NE between NE 6th Street and the garage access to the City Center Plaza building was fully closed. The full closure will last through late-July 2016 at which point, one southbound lane on 110th Avenue NE will re-open. (Closure Map) The entire roadway is expected to re-open in September 2016. The closure is needed to prepare the soil underneath the roadway for tunneling.
Intermittent lane closures will be necessary along 110th Avenue NE between Main Street and NE 6th Street for installation of instrumentation and dewatering wells. This work began in mid-July and will extend into early 2017.
At the south portal (Main Street/112th Avenue SE), motorists should expect intermittent lane closures as crews perform various utility work and haul dirt and materials from the site.
Subscribe to the City’s Traffic Advisories, to receive weekly updates on current road conditions (i.e. closures) throughout Bellevue.
Q: How can I receive tunnel construction updates?
A: Subscribe to Sound Transit’s Construction Alerts to receive updates on East Link construction or contact the East Link Outreach Team at 206-398-5465 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about upcoming events.
Page updated 07/21/16