Yesterday marked a major milestone for Sound Transit. The agency now has more than 14 miles of continuous light rail tracks in place. I joined three King County Councilmembers and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, current Chair of the Sound Transit Board, on the elevated guideway above the Link Light Rail Operations and Maintenance Facility in SODO. We all took a turn using a track fastening machine to bolt down the final light rail track segments between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport.
It was wonderful to stand on the guideway, several stories above where we began this process on the ground a few years ago, and see the culmination of so much hard work – 6.5 million labor hours since the ground breaking – from the men and women doing the literal heavy lifting, painting, wiring, plumbing and more needed to build this line.
I remember when people were writing off the line, saying it couldn’t be done. But we have persevered and are months away from giving residents another transportation choice in our region. And with gas prices continuing to climb, it won’t be a moment too soon.
People who travel in Seattle’s Rainier Valley will start seeing trains roll through this summer as Sound Transit engineers start rail testing that segment. Trains are slated to open for passengers in July 2009. You can learn more on the Sound Transit website.