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Sound Transit's East Link Rail Line Needs $20 Million More for Engineering

Sound Transit had to deliver bad news last week about cost overruns in the design and engineering phase of the East Link rail project that will cross Lake Washington along the path of Interstate 90.
August 19, 2015, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"Before the first tracks [of the East Link] are installed, Sound Transit must spend as much as $20 million in unexpected engineering costs to finish designing the world’s only rail corridor over a floating bridge, as it extends service to the Eastside," reports Mike Lindblom.

Ron Lewis, project director for East Link, "shared the blame between his own team and engineering giant Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB)," according to Lindblom, for "inefficiencies" in the workflow that led to the cost overrun. Parson Brinkerhoff, however, "could now earn $56 million instead of its earlier $36 million contract figure, which began at $28 million in 2012."

So while these design snafus are being ironed out, several major milestones still await the project before construction can begin. Lindblom report, for instance, that "Sound Transit’s final I-90 design, to be approved by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), is expected to stretch another year, until late 2016."

The East Link is expected to open in 2023, connecting the International District/Chinatown Station, Bellevue, and Overlake. The funding for the $3.7 billion East Link line was made possible when voters approved a sales-tax increase on a 2008 regional ballot measure.

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Published on Saturday, August 15, 2015 in The Seattle Times
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