Looming I-5 project means Tacoma-Seattle commute changes

Sound Transit announced today that it will add an additional Sounder commuter train to serve Pierce County and South King County during WSDOT’s I-5 lane closures in August. This additional train will run from Puyallup station to King Street Station in Seattle in the morning and make the return trip to Puyallup in the afternoon beginning Mon., Aug. 13 through Weds., Aug. 29. With this extra round-trip train, Sound Transit will have a total of five round trip trains serving south Puget Sound.

Sound Transit is offering this special service to help mitigate the affects of WSDOT’s I-5 expansion joint replacement project in the northbound lanes between Spokane Street and the I-90 Interchange. WSDOT crews will close up to three lanes of northbound I-5 south of downtown Seattle to replace worn expansion joints and repave I-5 starting Aug. 10. The freeway lane closures will occur round the clock for 19 days and end Aug. 29.

The extra train will run from Puyallup Station to Seattle’s King Street Station each weekday morning beginning Aug. 13. It will depart Puyallup at 6:17 a.m. and stop in Sumner, Auburn, Kent, and Tukwila before arriving in Seattle at 7:10 a.m. In the evening, it will depart Seattle at 4:50 p.m. and serve all of those stations before terminating at Puyallup Station at 5:33 p.m.

One other Sounder train schedule will be adjusted beginning Aug. 13 to accommodate the extra round trip. The #1503 will depart King Street Station at 4:40 pm instead of 4:45 pm, and will arrive at Tukwila, Kent, Auburn, Sumner, Puyallup, and Tacoma 5 minutes ahead of it’s normal schedule.

Sound Transit’s regular commuter rail fares will apply to all five roundtrip trains.

Sound Transit has partnered with WSDOT to offer extra parking at Tacoma Dome Station, Sumner Station, and at Kent Park and Ride. Even with extra parking, lots and garages are expected to fill up fast, and commuters are strongly encouraged to arrive at stations early, take buses, vanpool, carpool, or get dropped off at the stations. There are dedicated bus routes that go between Sumner Station and the Bonney Lake Park & Ride and between South Hill Park-and-Ride and Puyallup Station providing direct connections with the trains.

Sound Transit’s Express bus service will also see some temporary changes, with buses rerouted off I-5 to avoid the construction area between S. Spokane St. and the I-90 interchange. Routes 590, 591, 592, 594, and 595 out of Tacoma and Pierce County and 577 from Federal Way from northbound I-5 will take SR-599, Tukwila International Blvd, Boeing Access Road, Airport Way S to S Lander St, and then proceed on to SODO Busway where they will pick up with their usual route into downtown Seattle. This means that buses will miss the Northbound SODO Busway and South Spokane Street stop, but instead serve a stop Northbound at Airport Way South and South Spokane Street. The 586 from Tacoma to UW will also take SR- 599 to SR -99, the Alaska Way Viaduct and Aurora Ave up to 45th and then pick up its usual route.

Sound Transit offers four Sounder weekday commuter rail trains a day (each way) between Seattle and Tacoma with stops in Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent, Tukwila and Seattle. This fall Sound Transit plans to add two more trips between Tacoma and Seattle, with one a new “reverse commute” train running from Seattle to Tacoma in the morning and returning northbound in the evening.

Sound Transit also offers two trains a day (each way) between Everett and Seattle with a stop in Edmonds, and plans to add a third train on that line this fall.
Commuters can go to http://www.soundtransit.org/i5construction or call 1-888-889-6368 / 1-888-713-6030 TTY for additional information about train schedules, fares, trip planning, rider alerts, and other commuter information.