Light rail stop opens in 2024

By Lezlie Wolff - Staff Reporter

Highline's Sound Transit light rail station will open at the same time as the 272 Street and Federal Way stations, Sound Transit officials said recently.

Last year voters approved the ST 3 plan, which adds 62 new miles of light rail, completing a 116-mile regional system. 

It provides the money to open the three stations to Federal Way simultaneously rather than sequentially as done in the past, said Transit Environmental Planning Manager Kent Hale. 

Those stations will be opening by 2024, he said in a presentation he gave recently in Building 7.

"It was approved as a project, it's being constructed as a project. And it's being constructed all the way down to Federal Way earlier," said Sound Transit public information officer Rachelle Cunningham, speaking about the three stations.

"It opens the entire line down to Federal Way rather than just getting part of the way there," she said.

East Link is also being built as a single project, Cunningham said about the stations extending to Bellevue and Redmond. 

When the project is completed, there will be 80 stations linking Everett to Tacoma and east to Redmond, Planning Manager Hale said.

Sound Transit's mission is to "create and improve quality of life in the region," he said.

The regional transit authority covers three counties: King, Pierce, and Snohomish, including 51 cities and more than 3 million residents, he said.

"Every few years they will be opening more stations," Hale said about light rail progress. 

Hale spoke about environmental impacts of transportation in the region. 

"We have pretty clean power production [compared to the rest of the country]", he said about the region's reliance on hydroelectric power. 

The light rail project required a detailed Environmental Impact Statement. It considers how to mitigate impacts such as train noise concerns on neighborhoods, people, homes, parks, and businesses, he said. 

Lubricating the rails to reduce squealing wheels and building sound deflecting walls near residences and business to alleviate train noise, Hale said.

The concern at the Kent/Des Moines station is how to get people safely across Pacific Highway South, should the station be on the east side of the road, he said. 

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