Light rail is coming to South King County in 2024
Welcome to the Federal Way Link Extension (FWLE) online open house. We want to hear from you!
Light rail in South King County is coming closer to reality. Before long, you’ll see construction of the Federal Way Link Extension. Sound Transit will break ground on the project in spring 2020.
This online open house and the upcoming in-person open houses offer you the opportunity to:
- Provide input on station names.
- Learn more about the contractor.
- View conceptual images of stations.
- Learn about construction impacts.
- Understand how public feedback is incorporated.
Wednesday, Nov. 13 // 6-8 p.m. Highline College // 2400 S. 240th St., Building 8, Des Moines, WA 98198
King County Metro RapidRide A Line as well as routes including 121 and 166 will take you to Highline College. Parking is available in the East and North parking lots. For directions, visit this site.
Wednesday, Nov. 20 // 6-8 p.m. Federal Way Performing Arts Center // 31510 Pete Von Reichbauer Way S., Federal Way, WA 98003
The Federal Way Performing Arts and Events Center (PAEC) is located next to the Federal Way Transit Center where you can connect to Metro and Pierce County buses. Parking is available at the PAEC. Visit this site for directions.
Project staff will deliver a short presentation at 6:30 p.m. at both meetings.
The online open house covers much of the material you will see at the in-person open houses.
To request accommodations for persons with disabilities, including information in alternative formats, call 1-800-201-4900 / TTY Relay: 711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To request a translator or interpreter, call 1-800-823-9230.
Sound Transit supports art at Link stations
Seven artists and artist teams will be creating integrated artworks to enhance the rider experience in the Federal Way Link Extension. The artists were selected by a panel of arts and design professionals, representatives from the cities and community members to create unique art features at stations, garages and plazas.
In addition to creating permanent installations, the Sound Transit Art Program (STart) is working with artists to develop temporary works and programs to feature at station sites and in the community during construction:
Federal Way Link Extension artist-in-residence Sarah Kavage brings a background in urban planning to her work collaborating with the community to develop temporary art opportunities along the entire FWLE during construction.
Carina A. del Rosario will work with educators to create science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) curriculum focused on the FWLE service area. STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking. Carina is the founder of IDEA Odyssey, a collective of artists of color.
Growing transit options for a growing South Sound
Sound Transit’s Federal Way Link Extension adds nearly eight miles and three new stations to the regional transit system. Using an innovative approach, a single contractor — Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. — will design and build FWLE. Learn more about Kiewit here.
Construction will begin in 2020. Riders will enjoy easy connections to Northgate, Bellevue and beyond when service begins in 2024.
Federal Way Link Extension facts
Projected travel times
Kent/Des Moines to downtown Seattle: 42 minutes
New stations to include:
- Landscaped streets that will increase access to the stations.
- Bicycle lockers.
- Links to local pedestrian walkways for easy walking access.
- Bus connections.
- Parking garages.
- Convenient drop-off and pickup areas.
- Canopies that feature a Northwest Modern design and reflect the public’s priorities, including glass that brings in natural daylight and deep overhangs that provide shelter from rain.
- Unique art by local and national artists inspired by the station area’s history, surrounding environment and cultural influences.
During the first year of construction, you can expect to see crews:
- Demolish select Sound Transit-owned properties along the corridor.
- Drill to locate utilities and evaluate soil conditions.
- Relocate utilities, including cable, telecom, water and electrical service.
- Remove structures, trees and plants to level the ground and prepare for guideway construction.
- Begin light rail construction.
You shared your perspectives and we listened
Community members who live, work and play in the project area expressed excitement about the FWLE project. For all three stations, the public prioritized:
- Natural and bright lighting.
- Distinctive community features.
- Low-maintenance design that will stand the test of time.
- Low-maintenance vegetation.
- Protection from weather.
You have already played a valuable role throughout project development and we appreciate your ideas! In 2017 we went to the public to get input on station area look and feel.
Kent/Des Moines station area
Community members expressed an interest in station design that reflects the community and natural Puget Sound surroundings.
We responded with a design that will provide access to Highline College and surrounding neighborhoods and businesses. The station will have three landscaped streets to promote easy access by walking, bicycling and transit. Two large plaza areas will feature landscaping, seating and public art. An additional plaza near the garage will include a covered seating area and space on the street for food trucks.
South 272nd station area
Community members expressed a preference for an open and inviting design featuring colorful elements with vegetation and weather protection.
We responded with a design that features a garage that will replace the existing surface parking lot. We will rebuild a portion of South 272nd Street to improve vehicle/bus access to the station. Portions of 26th Avenue South and 28th Avenue South will have new sidewalks with landscaping. We will also build a pedestrian/bicycle path to the station plaza and connections to the existing freeway bus stop.
Federal Way Transit Center station area
Community members requested the Federal Way Transit Center station area incorporate elements of the Federal Way Performing Arts Center and former Weyerhaeuser Headquarters. Many comments noted the Federal Way Transit Center station area will be the main gateway to the City of Federal Way.
We responded with a design that will accommodate additional transit demand when light rail opens. An expansion of the existing parking garage will accommodate additional demand when light rail opens. A new street grid enhances access to the station and provides an opportunity for future development.
Learn more about station design here.
Meet your FWLE contractor
On May 23, 2019, the Sound Transit Board of Directors awarded Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. the contract to design and build Federal Way Link Extension.
The design-build project delivery method means Kiewit will design and construct the project, starting construction on some areas while they continue designing other portions of the project. Integrating design and construction gives Kiewit more flexibility to be innovative and efficient in the design and construction in order to meet the project timeline, respond to stakeholders and achieve budgetary goals.
Kiewit has a long history in the Northwest, with work beginning in Washington state more than 75 years ago designing and constructing some of the area’s most important and well-known facilities:
- In 1939 the US government contracted Peter Kiewit and Sons (PKS) to construct 1,540 buildings, streets and utilities, which would establish the Fort Lewis Barracks.
- In the early 1940s, PKS built the naval yard and station in Bremerton.
- In 1946, PKS constructed Highway 99 through California, Oregon and Washington.
Regionally, Kiewit has delivered several design-build projects, including:
- SR 520 Evergreen Point Floating Bridge and Landings in Bellevue.
- Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
- T-Mobile Field (formerly Safeco Field) and the adjacent SR 519 Intermodal Access Phase 2.
Kiewit’s recent and continuing work throughout the Puget Sound area demonstrates their success building heavy civil projects that meet project requirements. With more than 100 local staff, with an average of 15 years of experience each, Kiewit’s management team and craft workers are experienced, well-qualified and fully committed to the FWLE project. Kiewit is managing their project-specific equipment fleet and assigned resources from their local office in Federal Way, steps away from the project’s front door.
About the Stations
Three new stations – increased transit options in South King County
Kent/Des Moines Station Area
The elevated Kent/Des Moines station will provide access to Highline College and surrounding neighborhoods and businesses. The station will have three landscaped streets to promote easy access by walking, bicycling and transit. Two large plaza areas will feature landscaping, seating and public art. An additional plaza near the garage will include a covered seating area and space on the street for food trucks.
Kent/Des Moines station area
Norman Lee and Shane Allbritton of RE:site Studio are developing artwork for the KDM Station. As artists, they draw on a site’s cultural landscape to generate strong narrative concepts that resonate with local meanings, but also transform and transcend the familiar. Their work is about making connections between themes and ideas that do not typically appear related, but, in fact, have deep resonances. Their concept for the Kent/Des Moines Station envisions a narrative synergy between the multicultural diversity of Kent and Des Moines and the natural beauty surrounding these communities.
Kent/Des Moines station area plaza
Artist Michelle de la Vega is creating a sculpture for the plaza outside the Kent/Des Moines garage entry. Michelle draws inspiration for her work from her own experience in dance and visual art, and her practice includes stylized environment design. She is developing a sculpture for the plaza created from family tree drawings by Kent community members. Illustrating the conductivity of heritage, these drawings form a symbolic language that will make up the walls of the artwork, which will appear in the familiar shape of a home.
Kent/Des Moines and South 272nd garages
Artist Christopher Paul Jordan is developing artworks for the Kent/Des Moines and Star Lake Station garages. As an artist interested in equity, Chris wants to reinforce the spirit of community ownership and belonging in the landscape. He believes public space defines our relationship to the world, and that there is no better place than the public in which to create.
South 272nd Station Area
Located at the existing Star Lake Park-and-Ride site, the South 272nd station features a garage that will replace the existing surface parking lot. We will rebuild a portion of South 272nd Street to improve vehicle/bus access to the station. Portions of 26th Avenue South and 28th Avenue South will have new sidewalks with landscaping. We will also build a pedestrian/bicycle path to the station plaza and connections to the existing freeway bus stop.
South 272nd Street station area
Tory and Eroyn Franklin will be creating artwork for S 272nd Street Station. The two artists have overlapping mediums as well as individual works, and combine comics, illustration and permanent installation, which results in a storytelling approach to their work. For S 272nd Street Station, they are using edible plant imagery to nod to Kent’s agricultural history, the abundant nature throughout Kent, the diversity of the city and its Native American heritage.
Federal Way Transit Center Station Area
Located in the city center, the elevated Federal Way Transit Center station area currently serves several Sound Transit, King County Metro and Pierce Transit bus routes. An expansion of the existing parking garage will accommodate additional demand when light rail opens. A new street grid enhances access to the station and provides an opportunity for future development.
Federal Way Transit Center station area
Artist Catherine Widgery is creating artwork for the Federal Way Transit Center Station. Catherine has been recognized as an exceptional talent in creating art for public spaces, winning many awards for her work and creating more than 40 site-specific pieces throughout her career. Catherine’s goal for the Federal Way Station artwork is to transform the interior space of the station in such a way that the space is illuminated, interactive, and full of subtle color and reflection that accentuate the height and rhythms of the architecture, reflecting the surroundings and activity within the station.
Federal Way station plaza
Artist Donald Lipski will be creating an artwork for the plaza of the Federal Way Transit Center Station. Donald strives to create artworks that are dynamic, thoughtful, engaging and delightful. He believes sculptures that surprise people, encourage discussion and foster wonder and joy, have the best chance of withstanding the test of time, of, indeed, becoming landmarks and sources of pride for the community. Donald spent time in Federal Way last spring and got a feeling for the city as young, vital and diverse with its own personality, history and opportunities. He’s excited and challenged to be playing a part in it.
Federal Way Transit Center station garage
Artist Christine Ngyuen is creating an artwork for the Federal Way Transit Center Garage. She draws inspiration from nature, the sciences and the cosmos, but her work steps away from conventional ways of representing these areas. Last summer, Christine spent more than a week in Federal Way exploring local natural areas, including Dash Point Beach and the West Hylebos Wetlands Park. She is working on a residency with the Pacific Bonsai Museum. Her photo-based artwork, which will be featured on the west side of the parking garage, draws inspiration from natural areas in Federal Way, similar to what appears in the rendering.
Weigh in on station names
What should we name the stations?
This is your chance to weigh-in on the names of the three new FWLE stations. Your input is an important part of Sound Transit’s station naming policy and process. Learn about the station naming policy and process.
About the station naming policy and process
Sound Transit’s facilities, including our stations, are the connection between our services and the communities we serve. It is important that Sound Transit station names represent neighborhoods and destinations.
Sound Transit goes through three phases when naming stations.
First, we go through an internal process to identify and evaluate potential names based on the following criteria. We completed the process for this project earlier this year. Names must:
- Reflect the nature of the environment: neighborhoods, street names, landmarks and geographical locations.
- Be brief and easy to read and remember.
- Comply with federal Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines and requirements.
- Be no more than 30 characters long.
- Avoid commercial references.
- Avoid names or words similar to existing Sound Transit station names. (E.g. Kent Station).
Second, we collect input from the public. We go to the public for input on potential names early in the design phase. This is where you weigh in!
Third, and finally, the Sound Transit Board considers the public input and makes the final decision about station names.
We anticipate the board will make a decision on station names in 2020. Be sure you are signed up for our newsletter to stay on top of the latest project developments.
Soon we will begin pre-construction work along the FWLE corridor. This includes relocating utilities and demolishing buildings and other structures along the route.
Sound Transit works with members of the public during construction. Learn more about our Good Neighbor commitment.
More opportunities to weigh in on transit in South Sound
Sound Transit is working to extend light rail to Tacoma.
The Tacoma Dome Link Extension (TDLE) will extend the regional light rail system nearly 10 miles between Federal Way and Tacoma, scheduled to open in 2030. This project includes four new light rail stations in south Federal Way, Fife, east Tacoma and the Tacoma Dome area.
We are also studying three sites for the Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF) that will be located in South King County, scheduled to open in 2026. The OMF South facility is critical to keeping the growing light rail system running. It will provide approximately 300 living wage jobs in South King County. Visit this site to learn more about these projects and participate in the online open house for TDLE and the OMF South.
Our commitment to the community
Sound Transit’s Community Outreach mission is to represent Sound Transit interests in the community, and the community’s interests in Sound Transit.
During construction, it is our job to keep community members informed of construction activities and project progress.
We are your point of contact for Sound Transit projects. We will continue to host neighborhood briefings and events through construction. You can request a briefing for your neighborhood, group or business by contacting:
Community Outreach Specialist
- Provide advanced notification of work activities.
- Maintain business and residential access.
- Maintain a clean work site.
- Minimize noise, dust and debris.
- Provide wayfinding signage.
- Maintain a 24-hour construction hotline