Traffic

Link light rail expansion means street construction projects across Tacoma

Digging up MLK Jr Way for coming light rail

Construction workers tear up Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Tacoma's Hilltop Neighborhood for utility work prior to the coming light rail construction.
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Construction workers tear up Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Tacoma's Hilltop Neighborhood for utility work prior to the coming light rail construction.

Q: What are all those little street-construction projects fouling up my drive on the Hilltop and in the Stadium District?

A: Those, dear readers, are tied to the extension of the Tacoma Link light rail line.

As we have previously reported, plans call for the Link line that now terminates in the Theater District to be extended another 2.4 miles through the Stadium District and then onto the Hilltop, where it will run down Martin Luther King Jr. Way to South 19th Street. The anticipated opening is 2022.

Cost: $170 million, give or take.

Lots of prep work needs to be done before tracks can be laid. That includes relocating utilities and repairing street surfaces.

Work began earlier this month and is expected to continue into early January, according to Sound Transit, the agency that operates Link.

“Due to inclement weather or unforeseen issues, dates and times are subject to change,” Sound Transit reported in a news release.

Construction and detours are scheduled for:

Martin Luther King Jr. Way, between South 19th and South 15th streets.

Commerce Street, from 7th Street to Interstate 705.

Stadium Way, from Broadway to South 4th Street.

Some sidewalks and crosswalks might be temporarily closed during construction, but businesses are open, according to the Sound Transit news release.

“Plan ahead, leave early and allow extra time to reach your destination,” the regional transit agency advised.

We here at Traffic Q&A headquarters think that’s good advice whenever you plan to travel in the greater Puget Sound region.

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