Project update: Downtown Redmond Link Extension

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Project update


The Sound Transit Board System Expansion Committee today received a detailed briefing on continuing efforts to identify new opening dates for current Link construction projects, including the Downtown Redmond Link Extension project. This email provides an update on work to open these extensions as quickly as possible.

Since April, Sound Transit has been flagging delays affecting not only the Downtown Redmond Link Extension project but also East Link and the Lynnwood and Federal Way Link Extension projects.

“Within about the next four years, our carbon- and congestion-free light rail system will more than double from 26 to 62 miles and from 25 to 50 stations,” said Sound Transit Interim CEO Brooke Belman. “While we are on a path to fully resolve impacts of COVID-19, the concrete delivery strike and our construction challenges, we have more work to do before we can reliably establish opening dates. We will work tirelessly with our contractors to complete these extensions as rapidly as possible without compromising on safety or quality.”

Anticipated delays for Downtown Redmond Link construction completion were also driven primarily by the concrete delivery strike and COVID-19. Construction schedule impacts due to these two factors have been quantified and negotiated with the contractor to be four and a half months, which is mitigated in part by owner-controlled float in the project schedule.

Fortunately, known schedule risks specific to the project are relatively limited. Those include general risks such as challenges that arise from staffing and supply chain issues, managing potential changes in design as lessons are learned on other projects, and work that is necessarily performed by others, such as:

  • Power connections: There are several issues related to power for the light rail system that have the potential to cause delays. These include design and construction of the service connections and a new monitoring system, which is work performed by Puget Sound Energy.
  • Staffing shortages affecting oversight by permitting authorities: Lack of skilled workers and increasing demand is a concern across the industry, not only in construction trades. One example is in the support from Washington State Labor and Industries, where the Sound Transit contractors have hired private consulting firms to supplement L&I review. This same approach may also be implemented for installation inspections.

While the Downtown Redmond extension was planned to open near the end of 2024, continuing work is required to identify new project opening timelines for this as well as the other three projects. Timelines must include time for activation work once construction is complete. Based on the most recent assessments, completion of construction for Downtown Redmond may be impacted by four to six months. This only slightly exceeds the more than four-month delay caused by the concrete delivery strike that ended in April, with project schedules absorbing most other impacts. The Downtown Redmond extension cannot open before the completion of East Link to Redmond’s Overlake area, which is now projected to be impacted by at least a year beyond its earlier hoped mid-2023 opening. An upcoming programmatic review will assess rail activation sequencing and time requirements to support the identification of new opening timeframes.

Identifying new opening timelines requires continuing work to resolve project risks, as well the mentioned programmatic review that is now getting underway. Sound Transit will maintain intensive focus on these tasks and opening these projects as rapidly as possible without compromising their safety and quality. Action plans responding to challenges with all four of the current projects are summarized in a presentation provided at today’s meeting and a detailed memo.

For more information, please contact Charlie Hockett, senior Community Outreach specialist at (206) 553-3736 or

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