Workers on Monday set in place the last of 1,166 concrete trackway segments for Sound Transit’s light-rail line between the airport and Angle Lake.

Share story

Sound Transit’s odds of opening Angle Lake Station in SeaTac early have improved, after a crane crew lifted the last of 1,166 concrete trackway segments into place Monday morning.

Bridge work is five months ahead of its deadline, raising hopes for a spring or summer grand opening, ahead of the official September 2016 date.

That would be close to the early-2016 timeline for the 3-mile tunnel connecting Westlake Station, Capitol Hill and the University of Washington, also a few months ahead of schedule.

Meanwhile, tunnel-boring machine Pamela arrived midday Monday at the future Roosevelt Station, while digging south from Northgate toward the university, for a dual-tube subway that opens in 2021.

Its twin machine, nicknamed Brenda, is digging the northbound tube and reached Roosevelt on March 17.

In SeaTac, PCL Civil Constructors was using an overhead gantry crane to lift sets of 13 hollow concrete segments, each 35 tons and 10 feet long. These are cinched by steel cables and epoxy to form a series of 130-foot spans, under a $173 million contract.

As the crane crawls next to International Boulevard South, it looks like a “creeping yellow caterpillar,” said SeaTac Councilmember Kathryn Campbell, who watched the final hoist from atop the airport parking garage.

PCL has considerable practice, having built similar light-rail bridges over Tukwila in the 2000s, then continuing to the airport, on time and on budget.

The same technique might be used from Northgate to Lynnwood later this decade, but the engineering strategy isn’t finished yet, according to Henry Cody, Sound Transit’s construction manager in SeaTac.

The entire 1.6-mile extension, from SeaTac/Airport Station to Angle Lake, including 1,050 park-and-ride spaces, is worth $383 million. The Angle Lake Station is at South 200th Street and 28th Avenue South.

Those stalls are supposed to relieve pressure on the chronically overflowing park-and-ride lots at Tukwila International Boulevard Station, 3 miles north.

Sound Transit hopes the Angle Lake stop, some 37 minutes from downtown Seattle, will add 5,400 daily light-rail passengers.

Unlike other stations, there will be a plaza between the garage and the train stop, where the city of SeaTac expects to hold small festivals.

A Link progress report shows the project trending toward a May 6 opening. Other contractors must still finish the tracks, switches, power lines and signals, followed by train tests, so there are no guarantees yet.