State Supreme Court rejects bid to block 1-90 light rail

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Photo courtesy of Sound Transit

SEATTLE — The Washington State Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit Thursday that sought to halt construction of the East Link light rail on Interstate 90. The light rail expansion would cross Lake Washington, creating a mass transit link between Seattle and East King County.

The goal is to have the light rail completed and running by 2023. It is estimated that by 2030, the East Link light rail will carry 50,000 passengers every weekday, averaging 9,000 to 12,000 riders per hour.

The court ruled the Washington State Department of Transportation does have the authority to lease the center lanes on I-90 for light rail. You can read the court’s decision here.

Sound Transit board chair and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy said the design work for extending the light rail lines will move forward and added that the “I-90 bridge was built with the clear intent to use the center lanes for mass transit.”

McCarthy said that Sound Transit will work with the WSDOT on the project and the current number of vehicle lanes will remain the same.

Construction is slated to begin in 2015; work on I-90 will start in late 2016 after new HOV lanes across Lake Washington are built. The new HOV lanes will provide 24-access to carpools and buses in each direction. Funding for the lanes comes from Sound Transit.

The lawsuit disputing WSDOT’s authority to lease the lanes was filed by Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman and other parties.

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