SEATTLE - The Seattle Department of Transportation plans on moving forward with electrifying missing pieces of 23rd Avenue. It means electric trolley buses could run in a nearly two mile section of Seattle where they haven't before.
“It is moving forward. Right now the first phase is under construction,” SDOT Director Scott Kubly told KING 5 Tuesday.
Putting in new wires and substations for bus route 48 will be part of a $14.5 million dollar price tag. Kubly said the city has already secured most of that, around $9.5 million through state, federal and some Move Seattle levy money. He’s confident they’ll find the rest and start phase two of the project, likely in 2017.
“Once that’s done, we’ll be able to electrify the whole 48 route,” Kubly said. “Once we electrify the 48, we’ll be able to eliminate 185,000 gallons of diesel fuel, which is about six swimming pools of diesel fuel per year.”
As the city looks to electrify more of its transportation grid, SDOT Deputy Transit Director Bill Bryant recently told city and county policy makers that this is most likely currently the biggest electric trolley capital project.
“The electric trolley bus … is the really tried and true electric transit that we have here in Seattle,” he said at a joint transportation meeting last week. “It’s particularly well-suited to our hilly environment as well as to lots of starts and stops and lots of customers getting on and off the bus.”
He said the vehicles are expected to last a minimum of 15 years.
“Overall the electric trolley system saves about a million gallons of diesel per year,” he said.