Seattle 2 Line opening (Photo Sound Transit)

USA: The initial section of Seattle’s light rail 2 Line on the east side of Lake Washington opened on April 27, the first of a number of openings expected over the next year.

The initial section runs 10·6 km from South Bellevue to Redmond Technology, with eight stations. Services run every 10 min from 05.30 to 21.30 seven days a week.

Seattle 2 Line opening window (Photo Sound Transit)

‘This light rail line is going to change lives’, said King County Council Member and Sound Transit System Expansion Committee Chair Claudia Balducci. ’It will connect people to education, jobs, recreation and each other, helping expand access to opportunity across our region.’ She predicted that it would be ‘the beginning of an incredible transformation that will benefit the community for decades to come’.

Voters approved the project in 2008, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held in April 2016.

As part of the privately-funded opening celebrations, online retailer Amazon provided up to 15 000 preloaded Orca smart cards to promote the line, while people who visited every stop on the opening day could enter a competition to win prizes from Microsoft and Meta.

‘Our downtown Bellevue campus was designed around the connectivity that mass transit provides’, said David Zapolsky, Amazon’s SVP Global Public Policy & General Counsel. ‘Not only will this investment provide easier access to downtown Bellevue for our 12 000 Amazon employees in the city, but as we continue to invest in affordable housing with access to nearby public transit through the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, the 2 Line will also begin to open up new opportunities for the broader community.’

Seattle East Link project
Section Contractor
South Bellevue segment Shimmick/Parsons JV
Downtown Bellevue Tunnel Guy F Atkinson Construction
Downtown Bellevue to Spring District Stacy & Witbeck/Atkinson JV
BelRed segment Max J Kuney Co
Redmond segment Kiewit-Hoffman East Link Constructors JV
Railway systems Mass Electric Construction

An extension to Marymoor Village and Downtown Redmond is expected to open in spring 2025.

The initial section of the line has opened while work continues to address quality issues on the section along the I-90 motorway, which will add Mercer Island and Judkins Park stations and connect to the 1 Line at the International District/Chinatown Station in downtown Seattle.

  • An extension of the 1 Line north to Lynnwood is scheduled to open in August.