Summer/fall construction work
The state Department of Transportation is making improvements to Eastrail, starting in late June and lasting through the end of 2020 or early 2021. Crews will build a 2.5-mile section between the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton and Coal Creek Parkway Southeast in Bellevue. Information about trail closures, plus an online open house, is available on the project web page.
The Eastrail, formerly called the Eastside Rail Corridor, is being developed as an uninterrupted, 42-mile multi-use trail. It will extend from Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park in Renton, north through Bellevue, to Woodinville and the city of Snohomish in Snohomish County. Other nearby sections include the Cross Kirkland Corridor and the Redmond Central Connector.
The corridor was previously owned by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company. Today, King County owns just over 16 miles of Eastrail, including most of the seven-mile section that runs through Bellevue. Approximately two miles of that section opened in 2018 as an interim, gravel trail for pedestrians and bicyclists. More information is in on King County's Eastrail webpage.
Although the City of Bellevue is not an Eastrail owner, it has a keen interest in both the development of a high-quality pedestrian and bicycle trail and in preserving its potential for additional transportation and utility uses. The city is working to advance the trail by supporting its design and development of key trail crossings and connecting links. Bellevue is also the permitting authority for development of the segment that passes through the city.
Since 2013, Bellevue has taken part in a regional planning process with King County and other Eastrail owners such as Kirkland, Redmond and Sound Transit through a Regional Advisory Council. Non-owner jurisdictions on the advisory council include Renton and the Eastside Greenway Alliance, a coalition of seven community non-profit organizations interested in supporting development of the corridor.
Active freight rail service on the Eastrail south of Woodinville ended in 2008. King County holds a continuous trail easement along segments that are owned by others. Sound Transit owns a 1.1-mile segment of the corridor in Bellevue near the Spring District and holds an easement for transit along other segments.
Puget Sound Energy also holds an easement for utilities along the corridor. Redmond, Kirkland, Woodinville and Snohomish County own corridor segments north of Bellevue. The corridor is “rail-banked,” which means that it must be preserved as a continuous route and there is the potential for reactivation of the corridor for freight rail under certain circumstances.