Riding the Light Rail

by Gail Kinner

A reliable and congestion-free transportation network is transforming Seattle. Sound Transit Light Rail stations are gradually making their way north, and one major hub – University of Washington Station – is finally complete.  Located between UW Medical Center and Husky Stadium, the underground UW Station is projected to serve over 70,000 passengers daily.  The ten-story, below grade building, spans the distance of three football fields.  UW Station’s narrow and massive structure, is unique in design, both architecturally and mechanically.  The limited access, top-down construction of the structure and complex sequencing of activities have been compared to building a boat in a bottle. Precise coordination and adherence to the project schedule were paramount for UW Station’s success.

As a thank you to the men and women who worked so hard on the project, Sound Transit has set aside 100 seats, or Golden Tickets, for the dedicated craft labor on the University of Washington and Capitol Hill Station projects.  The lucky 100 will get the very first ride before the public opening on Saturday, March 19th.

UMC Foreman Chris Plaut and Journeyman Mejia Bertilo, both Local 32 Plumbers/Pipefitters, are among the lucky recipients of Sound Transit’s Golden Ticket.  They will be the first to experience the four-minute ride from the UW Station to the Capital Hill Station.  Plaut has been on the UW Station project since the beginning and remembers the challenges.

“It wasn’t a typical build,” recalls Praut about UW Station. “The top-down construction reversed the traditional construction order and left very little room for error. I liked the uniqueness of the project and thought the entire team did a fantastic job.”

The new UW Station will be open to the public on Saturday, March 19th at 10 am. Free tickets for Launch Day are available on the U-Link website: www.ulink2016.org

One Response

  1. Steve Russo says:

    It is nice to see the UW station open after so many years of development and construction! Hopefully these stations as well as the future stations help to shape and improve public transportation in this ever-growing area.

    I did not know they were holding a special raffle for the inaugural public rides. It is only fitting that it is specific to the construction teams and I am glad to see the recognition. Devin White and I will also be representing UMC at a separate event on Friday evening 3/18/16.

    Great job to everyone involved!! We are already gearing up for the U-district station so we hopefully get to do this again.