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Sound Transit hires Shimmick for $13.2 million yard expansion, restores funding for station improvements


Sound Transit's board yesterday selected Shimmick Construction to design and build a $13.2 million expansion of the agency's Sounder layover facilities in Lakewood, Wash.

The improvements, which include adding a third track to the existing yard, will enable Sound Transit to store more Sounder rail cars for its Lakewood-to-Seattle service as the agency prepares to add three round-trips to meet demand, agency officials said in a press release.

In fall 2016, Sound Transit will add another weekday round trip between Lakewood, Tacoma, South King County and Seattle, Wash., followed by two additional ones in 2017.

Currently, the agency operates 10 round-trip trains on the south line.

A Sounder commuter train
Photo: Sound Transit

When completed in 2017, the expanded layover facility will have the capacity to store up to seven eight-car train sets. Today, six seven-car trains are stored there. The third track will be finished by December to accommodate storage for new passenger cars being delivered this year and next. Nine new Sounder passenger cars are slated to arrive late this fall, agency officials said.

Other elements of the expansion include permanent office space and parking for crew members, along with new fencing, guard booths and surveillance systems for added yard security. Enhanced wayside power and upgraded yard lighting will help reduce energy use and support nighttime train cleaning, Sound Transit officials said.

Voters approved the additional trains and the Sounder Yard Expansion in the 2008 Sound Transit 2 (ST2) ballot measure. The new round trips require placing additional train sets into service.

The existing layover facility is at capacity and must be expanded to allow storage of new equipment, Sound Transit officials said.

Meanwhile, Sound Transit's board yesterday restored funding for Sounder station access improvement projects in Auburn and Kent, Wash. The board's action paves the way for adding more parking, along with additional pedestrian, bike and other improvements at the two high-demand stations.

Voters approved the Kent and Auburn Sounder station access improvements in the ST2 ballot measure.

The recession in 2007-2009 wiped out $4.2 billion from projected ST2 tax revenue, Sound Transit officials said. In response, the agency's board began an ongoing process to bring project plans in line with the lower revenue forecasts. The Kent and Auburn projects were among those that were suspended until funding could be identified.

Since then, staff determined that sufficient resources now exist to restore funding for the Kent and Auburn station access projects, Sound Transit officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/29/2016