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Digging Begins in Downtown Bellevue for East Link Light Rail Tunnel 

Tunnel-boring machines bearing catchy nicknames are popular when it comes to local transportation infrastructure projects.

The queen of them all is Bertha, Washington State Department of Transportation’s 6,700-ton, 57.5-foot-wide machine burrowing a two-mile long tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct through downtown Seattle. Two 600-ton machines (formerly named Pamela and Brenda, but renamed Machine 1 and Machine 2 after being confused with Bertha) are digging 3.6-mile-long tunnels to connect Sound Transit’s Link light rail route between Husky Stadium and Northgate in Seattle. And a 360-ton machine (nicknamed the “Emerald Mole”) was used about a decade ago to hollow out two nearly-mile-long tunnels through Beacon Hill and connect light rail service between Seattle’s Rainier Valley and SODO neighborhoods.

It’s a little different in Bellevue, where a contractor is using comparatively simple and conventional tools to dig a 2,000-foot-long tunnel beneath the city’s central business district. The project is part of the 14-mile, $3.7 billion East Link light rail extension that will connect Seattle to Mercer Island, Bellevue, and Redmond by summer 2023.


BAM Appoints New Executive Director

Bellevue Arts Museum board of trustees last week named Karin Kidder as the museum’s new executive director. Kidder, previously the museum’s director of marketing and communications, has served as BAM’s interim executive director since November.


Southport On Lake Washington Rises In Renton  

Southport, the largest mixed-use construction project under way in Renton, is inching closer to completion and could soon look more like the waterfront urban village its developer envisions.

SECO Development purchased the 17.1-acre site from Puget Sound Energy in 1999 for approximately $7 million, and has since developed it in phases. The five-story, 383-unit Bristol I and Bristol II apartment buildings were completed in 2002 and 2006, respectively. The 12-story, $180 million, 347-room Hyatt Regency Lake Washington is scheduled to open in June. And three nine-story, $350 million office towers scheduled to open between July 2018 and January 2019 will offer approximately 700,000 square feet of Class A office space. The campus will also feature a range of retail shops and restaurants. In the end, the $590 million Southport project aims to be a game-changer for Renton, and a campus bustling with thousands of office workers, apartment residents, and hotel visitors.  

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