Sound Transit’s Link light rail trains will run less often at night from April 1 through late July so workers can assemble new noise walls in Tukwila.
Trains will arrive every 20 minutes from 9 p.m. to closing time, which is between midnight and 1 a.m. Normally, the trains arrive every 10 minutes from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., then every 15 minutes until closing.
As usual, on Mariners and Sounders FC game nights, extra trains will clear post-game crowds, said spokesman Bruce Gray. During the construction, trains must take turns sharing a single track through the work zone, causing delays of a couple minutes.
This work should close the book on an embarrassing problem. When the line opened in 2009, screeching trains violated federal noise standards and made conversation difficult for homeowners beneath elevated trackway, near the Duwamish River.
After frustrated neighbors took their own noise measurements, Sound Transit conducted noise studies in Tukwila and Rainier Valley, then retrofitted trackways, noise-proofed 149 homes, lubricated the tracks, and replaced switch parts that went ka-thunk. Total costs will be about $6 million, said transit spokesman Bruce Gray.
For a half-mile near the Duwamish River Bridge, temporary plastic barriers will be replaced by permanent metal baffles that dissipate train noise.
Gray said Sound Transit is applying its “real-world example” of track noise and abatement in Tukwila, to better design upcoming rail lines to Bellevue and Lynnwood.