Last Friday, crews completed track work on Martin Luther King Jr. Way for the Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension, marking 75% completion of the project. More than 22,000 linear feet of track is now installed.
“It’s remarkable to think we are in the home stretch of completing this project in downtown Tacoma,” said University Place councilmember and Sound Transit Board Chair Kent Keel. “While the last year has been hard on everyone because of the COVID-19 pandemic, one silver lining is that our construction in the Stadium District and Hilltop was less disruptive because people were staying home. At the same time we were able to employ hundreds of construction workers and help build back the local economy.”
“In just over a year from now, Tacoma Link will be dropping off passengers in the Stadium business district for lunch or dinner; delivering patients and workers to the hospitals and getting folks home to the Hilltop to shop and eat,” said Tacoma Mayor and Sound Transit Boardmember Victoria Woodards. “The completed Hilltop Tacoma Link project will bring new economic opportunity to Tacoma.”
“Tacoma Link became the region’s first light rail line when it opened in 2003. This 2.4 mile extension to the Hilltop is a vital part of our progress as we work to nearly triple the reach of our region’s light rail network by 2024,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “This project will connect Tacoma residents on the Hilltop with the region’s medical facilities, downtown, and Tacoma Dome station. It will provide needed mobility while helping downtown bounce back from the pandemic.”
The project has completed construction of 322 power poles out of the 341 poles that will run the new line. The project added more than 103,000 square feet to the Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF) in Tacoma. Work on the expanded rail yard at the OMF and connection to the existing line is scheduled to be complete in June.
Work continues on seven new stations and five electrical sub-stations that will supply the new line. Five new train cars, which will start arriving later this year, will be added to the existing fleet. A gallery of current construction photos is available here. The Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension is scheduled to open for service in 2022.
Walsh Construction Company II, LLC is building the Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension. The $217 million project is funded through a partnership between Sound Transit, the City of Tacoma, a $75 million federal Small Starts grant and a $15 million federal TIGER grant.
Information on the Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension and other Sound Transit expansion projects is available at www.soundtransit.org/system-expansion.