Operations and Maintenance Facility East in Bellevue. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit

Operations and Maintenance Facility East in Bellevue. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit

Sound Transit completes new light rail base in Bellevue

Operations and maintenance facility similar to what’s planned in either Kent or Federal Way

Sound Transit is ready to open its new Operations and Maintenance Facility East (OMF East) in Bellevue, a key component of upcoming Link extensions to Northgate, Lynnwood, Federal Way and Redmond.

The state-of-the-art facility will accommodate the service, maintenance, storage and deployment of 96 light rail vehicles. It’s similar to the facility Sound Transit plans to build later this decade in either Kent or Federal Way, with three sites still under consideration.

Up to 260 employees will staff the facility, which will operate around the clock 365 days a year, according to a Sound Transit news release. The OMF East has already begun storing new Series 2 light rail vehicles from Siemens, with the existing Operations and Maintenance Facility in Seattle nearing capacity. New cars will continue arriving through 2024.

“With our partners, we have created a state-of-the art facility that will not only make light rail expansions possible, but provide many good jobs and help activate the Spring District with residential and commercial development,” said Claudia Balducci, Sound Transit Board member and King County Council chair.

“The completion of this Operations and Maintenance Facility drives home that Link light rail will soon serve the Eastside,” said Dow Constantine, Sound Transit Board vice chair and King County executive. “This critical element of our system will make it possible to connect the entire Puget Sound region with healthy, high-capacity transportation for generations to come.”

“This new base will allow us to triple our light rail fleet from 62 vehicles to 214, enabling the opening of light rail extensions to Northgate later this year, followed by Mercer Island, Bellevue, and the Bel-Red corridor in 2023, and Lynnwood, Federal Way, and downtown Redmond in 2024,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “In addition to creating mobility throughout the region, the affordable housing, retail and office development around this site will make it possible for more folks to live and work just steps away from light rail.”

Construction of the OMF East was partially funded with a U.S. Department of Transportation loan through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), and a portion of a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) under the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Capital Investment Grant Program, also known as the “New Starts” program, for Lynnwood Link.

Hensel Phelps Construction Co. designed and built the light rail operations and maintenance facility, using almost 600,000 hours of union labor. The contractor worked with the city of Bellevue on the Master Development Plan entitlements that included planning for the site’s surplus property.

Sound Transit selected BRIDGE Housing and its partners to develop almost 7 acres of TOD on the surplus property adjacent to the facility. Sound Transit and BRIDGE are continuing to negotiate business terms, which the Sound Transit Board of Directors will consider for approval later this year.

Key features of the OMF East

• 14 service bays

• Cleaning and wash bay

• Almost 145,000 square feet of shops and office areas

• Storage for 1,300 essential items including tools, parts and maintenance equipment

• Nearly 300 poles supporting train power

• A freestanding sculpture by Christian Moeller called “Nails” stretching for nearly 500 feet along the paved public bike path bordering the site, featuring 45 nails that are up to 30 feet tall

• A rooftop 100-kilowatt solar array to offset energy use

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The light rail vehicle facility opening in Bellevue is similar to what Sound Transit plans to build in Kent or Federal Way. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit

The light rail vehicle facility opening in Bellevue is similar to what Sound Transit plans to build in Kent or Federal Way. COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit

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