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Work is under way to build new Sounder rail station in Tukwila

Local, regional and federal dignitaries broke ground Monday on the new Sounder Station in Tukwila. - Dean A. Radford/Tukwila Reporter
Local, regional and federal dignitaries broke ground Monday on the new Sounder Station in Tukwila.
— image credit: Dean A. Radford/Tukwila Reporter

Work is under way on a permanent Tukwila Sounder commuter rail station that will become a key link in the regional and statewide transportation systems.

Local, regional and federal officials broke ground on the $46 million project Monday morning near the temporary – and wooden – station that has stood since 2000.

The rail station on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks is on Longacres Way in Tukwila, sandwiched between West Valley Highway and Interstate 405.

“Today marks a long-awaited milestone. Sounder rider access is improving in South King County,” said Julia Patterson, vice chairperson of the Sound Transit board.

The station built on raised platforms next to the tracks currently has more than 1,300 weekday boardings, making it the second-most popular facility on a south line that serves about 10,000 riders a day.

The station serves Sounder commuter rail and Amtrak Cascades service; the temporary station will remain open during construction.

When complete in fall 2014, the permanent station will offer 390 parking spaces, improved transit connections, storage for 76 bicycles, four electrical charging stations, passenger shelters and public art.

Besides Patterson, participating in the ceremony were U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo, Sound Transit Board member and King County Executive Dow Constantine, State Rep. Steve Bergquist, and Tukwila City Council President Kathy Hougardy, as well as Renton City Council members Greg Taylor and Marcie Palmer.

Sound Transit received $14.2 million in federal grants to help pay for the Tukwila station, which voters approved in the 1996 Sound Move ballot measure.

The cities of Tukwila and Renton have worked together on planning for the station for the past several years to ensure it works well with the development and transportation goals of each city.

Kathy Hougardy, president of the Tukwila City Council, thanked Sound Transit on behalf of the city for "realizing the vision of a permanent Sounder station in our city.

"The investments in a new structure, additional parking, and improved access for those walking, riding, and taking the bus will enhance transportation connections for those who depend on transit for their travel needs," she's said.

The money for the project is coming from Sound Transit, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Railroad Administration and the American Recovery and Investment Act.

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