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King County Parks breaks ground on a new trail bridge connecting Eastrail to Sound Transit’s Wilburton Station in Bellevue

Summary

A new 500-foot-long trail bridge scheduled to be completed next year will connect Eastrail and Sound Transit’s Wilburton Station and provide a safe critical crossing over one of the busiest streets on the Eastside.

Story

Eastrail - NE 8th Street Bridge Opening 2023, Where trail and transit connect

King County Parks on Thursday broke ground on a new trail bridge that will connect Eastrail to Sound Transit’s Wilburton Station, providing safe access to Link light rail across one of the busiest streets in Bellevue.

The community-led Bellevue Japanese American Legacy Project will install art on the NE 8th Street Eastrail Bridge, honoring the history of the Japanese American farming community in Bellevue.

“Bridging the gap between trails and rail is no longer a metaphor – it's a deliverable,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine, who is also a member of the Sound Transit Board of Directors. “The bridge we’re building with community partners will offer safe, healthy connections to high-capacity transit while honoring the legacy of the Japanese American farming community.” 

The bridge will cross Northeast 8th Street in Bellevue, which carries about 40,000 cars each day. Crews are expected to complete the trail bridge in the fall of 2023. Eastrail will eventually connect to a total of four light rail stations that Sound Transit is building with its East Link Extension

The 500-foot-long, 16-foot-wide trail bridge will be composed of prefabricated steel trusses and will feature lighting over the entire length.

Eastrail is a 42-mile former railroad line that is being converted into uninterrupted regional trail that connects South and East King County communities to Snohomish County with a spur to Redmond. It is owned and managed by King County Parks, the cities of Kirkland, Redmond and Woodinville, Snohomish County, Sound Transit, and Puget Sound Energy.

Walkers, runners, and cyclists will be able to go from the new trail bridge north to Woodinville where Eastrail connects to the Sammamish River Trail and the Burke-Gilman Trail. Starting in 2024, users will be able to head south across the transformed Wilburton Trestle and a new bridge crossing Interstate 405 to reach the Mercer Slough Environmental Educational Center.

The $16 million construction contract is funded with $13 million from the King County Parks Levy, which voters approved in 2019, and $3 million from Sound Transit’s System Access Fund.

The bridge will be located near the former Bellevue Growers Association Packing and Shipping Warehouse, an historically important location for the Japanese American community. Art created through the Bellevue Japanese American Legacy Project will be featured at several locations on and off the bridge to honor the historical significance of the location.


Relevant links


Quotes

Bridging the gap between trails and rail is no longer a metaphor – it's a deliverable. The bridge we’re building with community partners will offer safe, healthy connections to high-capacity transit while honoring the legacy of the Japanese American farming community.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

Thanks to this bridge, people will be able to walk and ride this regional trail in safety, across one of the busiest roads in the County. But this bridge will be about more than safety – it will also include major artistic and educational elements that convey the legacy of Japanese American residents who helped to grow the city of Bellevue. With this crossing, we recognize and honor the deep history of this area and create a safer, more walkable city for future generations.

Claudia Balducci, King County Council Chair

This project will be a triple win for Bellevue. It will make crossing Northeast 8th Street safer, it will provide fast, convenient access to the light rail station from the growing Wilburton area, and it will honor our city’s Japanese-American heritage. The view of our downtown skyline from the bridge will be pretty nice, too! Thanks to King County, Sound Transit and the Japanese American Legacy Project for making this Eastrail landmark possible..

Lynne Robinson, Bellevue Mayor

By putting $3 million from Sound Transit's system access fund into this safe connection for Eastside transit riders, we are happy to be putting the rail into Eastrail.

Peter Rogoff, Sound Transit CEO

For more information, contact:

Doug Williams, Department of Natural Resources and Parks, 206-477-4543