Column installation begins for light rail extension

Project under way at the site of the future Kent/Des Moines station.

Sound Transit’s Federal Way Link Extension hit a project milestone last week with the construction of the light rail guideway now underway.

The Federal Way Link Extension is a 7.8-mile project that will extend light rail from Angle Lake Station in SeaTac to Federal Way with three new stations serving Kent/Des Moines, South 272nd Street and the Federal Way Transit Center.

The project is expected to be completed by 2024.

On Oct. 7, construction crews began the installation process of columns that will hold up the future Kent/Des Moines light rail station on Pacific Avenue South and connecting tracks along 30th Avenue South. The station is expected to serve about 3,500 riders a day once completed and will also have a 500-space, multi-level parking garage nearby.

The drill shafts are 40-feet deep, 10-feet wide holes filled with concrete and steel. Soon, 15- to 20-foot tall columns will be placed on top of the shafts and will hold the station and tracks.

“We’re super excited because this is the first tangible, heavy civil aspect of our project we’ve been building,” said Nathan Monroe, construction manager of the project. “Everything we’ve been doing to this date has been clearing the table … This is the first bit of our property that we’re building.”

It is also a big step in the promise to the local taxpayers and transit riders in the region, he said.

Crews have spent months demolishing buildings, removing trees, relocating underground utilities and clearing and grading, according to a recent news release. At the Kent/Des Moines site, there are about 25 to 40 workers, said Scott Thompson, public information officer for Sound Transit. Project-wide about 60 to 80 people are working on the Federal Way Link Extension.

Kiewit Infrastructure West is the design/build contractor for the Federal Way Link Extension. The $3.1 billion project budget includes up to $790 million from a full funding grant agreement executed by the Federal Transit Administration, according to Sound Transit.

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