AS A MASS-TRANSIT fan, I love seeing light rail construction taking shape around the region.
The downtown Bellevue tunnel is a visible sign of progress along the 14-mile East Link light rail extension that will connect Seattle’s Chinatown International District to the Microsoft campus in Redmond and add 10 stations along the way, including one on Mercer Island.
On a recent chilly afternoon, a gracious construction worker led me to a good spot by the safety fence so I could start this sketch of the tunnel’s south portal. (In case you are curious, I draw in pencil and ink on the spot and add watercolor later.)
This is not a superlong tunnel. Trains will run underground for just about a third of a mile before they emerge near the Bellevue Transit Center a few blocks north and continue to Redmond. For comparison, the light rail tunnel between the soon-to-open Northgate station and the University of Washington is 3.5 miles long.
I look forward to riding East Link over the I-90 floating bridge and coming to this station at 112th Avenue and Main Street to update this sketch with a platform full of commuters. If the pandemic gets under control and the date embossed in the portal is accurate, it all should happen in 2023.