Work on a new rail trestle in Tacoma will complicate the commute later this month for thousands of people who take the Sounder train to and from points south of Puyallup.
Sound Transit, the regional agency that runs the popular train, said Thursday that south line trains will run no farther south than the Puyallup station from Feb. 17 to Feb. 22.
That means people who usually board or exit at the Tacoma Dome, South Tacoma and Lakewood stations won’t be able to during that time.
Sound Transit has set up a shuttle system to bus riders from those stations to Puyallup and back. Details can be found at soundtransit.org/SounderDisruption.
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Shuttle rides will be free, but fares on the trains from Puyallup will remain in effect. The shuttles will not have the capacity to carry bicycles.
Also, parking already is limited at the Puyallup station, so Sound Transit officials strongly encourage riders from farther south not to drive there.
Sound Transit officials warned that commutes will take longer during the service disruption and encouraged people to plan ahead.
“People will need to arrive earlier than usual to catch the shuttle because buses take longer than the train,” said Rachelle Cunningham, an agency spokeswoman. “The additional time will differ depending on the station of origin.
“I took a look at the schedule for the first trip of the day, and it looks like it will range from 10 minutes to almost 20 minutes longer.”
Sound Transit staff members will be at the affected stations starting Feb. 14 to hand out brochures and answer questions, Cunningham said.
“Staff will be there to help people make their connections throughout the disruption as well,” she said.
The disruption will allow crews building a trestle near the Dome District in Tacoma to shift southbound trains from the old wooden trestle to the new bridge.
Once that work is complete, the old wooden trestle will be demolished.
It’s all part of a $161 million project to replace the trestle, which includes signal upgrades, road improvements and other work. Voters approved much of the money during the Sound Transit 2 vote in 2008. The federal government has pitched in another $27 million in grants recently to speed construction.
“The project will support more Sounder and Amtrak trains and reduce delays in the heavily used rail corridor,” Sound Transit said.
The old trestle currently serves 11 round-trip weekday trains from Lakewood to Seattle, with additional “game-day” trains for select Seattle Seahawks, Mariners and Sounders FC games.
Two additional peak-service trains are scheduled to begin running later this year.