Sound Transit says University Link open by early '16

Chris Daniels reports

SEATTLE - Sound Transit says construction on the University Link has gone better than previously expected.

On Tuesday, the Agency's Engineers, along with King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, celebrated what they say was a major advancement for the project. The Capitol Hill Station, near the corner of Broadway and John, is nearly complete, and train testing will begin in August. Sound Transit says the project, which involved boring four separate tunnels between Downtown and Husky Stadium, will likely open in the first quarter of next year.

Ahmad Fazal, with Sound Transit, says the agency learned from past projects. "The tunneling for Beacon Hill was Sound Transit's first tunnel project, we've learned a lot from that, and applied lessons learned," he says.

Fazal said the design was also more shallow, and allowed the Capitol Hill station to be built more as a "cut and cover" technique than other projects.

Trains will runs every six minutes at peak times through that part of the City.

Asif Alvi, who runs Perfect Copy and Print on Broadway, says the project put his business in "limbo." He had to move to accommodate the new station back in 2009. He's had a front row view from his new spot ever since.

"I feel like I'm a survivor, the business survived, but at what level?"

He's happy to hear about the new timeline, but says he's hoping Sound Transit will also clear the area for additional parking, and looks forward to the day the train actually leaves the station.

"Any day is better than what is today," he said.


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