News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood

 

Silver Platters, SAS Shoes, others to leave Northgate Station for light rail

August 4th, 2014 by Mike

Sound Transit got back to us today, confirming it will acquire Northgate Station –  the strip mall that houses Silver Platters, SAS Shoes and several other stores.

The site will instead become a part of the link between the Maple Leaf Portal and the Northgate Light Rail station.

“As the station and guideway construction plans moved past 90% it became apparent that we would not be able to maintain reasonable access for the businesses for at least two years while we build the guideway through the area,” emails Bruce Gray, public information officer for Sound Transit.

“Four of the large columns supporting the guideway will be on the property and as the designs progressed, it became clear that we can’t put them in while maintaining access to the tenants.”

The mall is immediately south of the Northgate Transit Center, and just east of First Avenue Northeast and Interstate 5.

Gray said that by now all the businesses in the mall should have been contacted.

Sound Transit will pay for all moving expenses and up to $50K in costs associated with reestablishing their businesses at a new location. Our people will also help the businesses find suitable new locations and work closely with them throughout the process.

In other light rail news, Sound Transit emailed on Thursday:

The first of two tunnel boring machines that will build the Northgate Link tunnels between the University of Washington Station and Northgate Station is having a good start. Today it will have travelled 500 feet since crews began mining south from the Maple Leaf Portal near NE 94th Street in early July. Crews expect the first TBM to reach Roosevelt Station in early 2015.

The light rail line here is set to begin operating in 2021.

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Two nearby news items – a shooting and a TBM (the T stands for tunnel)

July 9th, 2014 by Mike

Two press released arrived this afternoon. One is on a shooting nearby in Victory Heights. The other is the launch of Brenda – the Tunnel Boring Machine heading for the University District.

From Seattle Police:

Police are investigating after a man was wounded in a shooting in the Victory Heights neighborhood Wednesday afternoon following a dispute over an apparent drug debt.

Police responded to the 1700 block of Northeast 103rd Street, where they found the victim, who had been shot in the foot. Medics transported the man to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

At the scene, witnesses told officers two men had fled the scene in a black Lincoln Town Car. Police are now searching for the two men, described as a white male, 5’8, wearing a black tank top, and a white male, 6’0, wearing a blue dress shirt.

From Sound Transit:

The first of two tunnel boring machines that will dig new twin light rail tunnels from the Northgate neighborhood in Seattle to the University of Washington began mining today.

That would be Brenda. You can read more here.

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Why's that lane closed by the freeway? (hint: Brenda's coming)

May 7th, 2014 by Mike

Contractors for Sound Transit this morning closed a lane near the popular Interstate 5 entrance off Northeast 80 Street to install monitoring equipment to check on Brenda as she tunnels her way south from the Maple Leaf Portal.

“As early as Wednesday, May 7, Sound Transit’s contractor will install equipment along the Northgate Link tunnel alignment to monitor vertical movement of utility pipes (water and sewer lines) for the Northgate Link Extension,” according to a release from Sound Transit.

The monitors, called Utility Settlement Points, are glued to the top of a utility pipe inside a cast iron cover and inserted below the surface of the road and will be in place throughout construction of the Northgate Link Extension. This work will be done throughout the month of May and will take 1 to 3 days to complete at each location.

• Installation of the monitors requires drilling into the concrete, removing ground material with a vacuum truck and attaching the monitor to the utility.

• The contractor will perform this work between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. No high impact work will occur until after 8 a.m. A vacuum truck makes a noise similar to a diesel engine running at high rpms.

There are five work locations:  [Read more →]

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Why’s that lane closed by the freeway? (hint: Brenda’s coming)

May 7th, 2014 by Mike

Contractors for Sound Transit this morning closed a lane near the popular Interstate 5 entrance off Northeast 80 Street to install monitoring equipment to check on Brenda as she tunnels her way south from the Maple Leaf Portal.

“As early as Wednesday, May 7, Sound Transit’s contractor will install equipment along the Northgate Link tunnel alignment to monitor vertical movement of utility pipes (water and sewer lines) for the Northgate Link Extension,” according to a release from Sound Transit.

The monitors, called Utility Settlement Points, are glued to the top of a utility pipe inside a cast iron cover and inserted below the surface of the road and will be in place throughout construction of the Northgate Link Extension. This work will be done throughout the month of May and will take 1 to 3 days to complete at each location.

• Installation of the monitors requires drilling into the concrete, removing ground material with a vacuum truck and attaching the monitor to the utility.

• The contractor will perform this work between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. No high impact work will occur until after 8 a.m. A vacuum truck makes a noise similar to a diesel engine running at high rpms.

There are five work locations:  [Read more →]

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Welcome (and soon goodbye to) Brenda, our own Tunnel Boring Machine

April 28th, 2014 by Mike

Update: There is now a Sound Transit press release about this event here.

Brenda, the Tunnel Boring Machine that already bored a segment of the light rail tunnel from downtown to the University of Washington, is being given a send off this afternoon at the Maple Leaf Portal.

With speakers, ceremony and a smashed cider bottle, Brenda is on her way again from the portal across First Avenue Northeast from Silver Platters and SAS Shoes.

Two light rail tunnels will be drilled from this location to Sound Transit’s Roosevelt Station, on 12th Avenue Northeast near Northeast 65th Street.

Marcus Donner, at the Puget Sound Business Journal, has more photos here.

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First Avenue remains one-way for two more months

March 25th, 2014 by Mike

Sound Transit confirmed today that – as one of our readers had suspected – First Avenue Northeast will remain one-way at the Maple Leaf Portal for two more months.

First Avenue NE between NE 92nd Street and just south of NE 100th Street will remain open southbound only through May. Current traffic and Metro bus service detours will remain in place through this extension.

The northbound closure allows crews to safely complete excavation and dirt hauling of the Maple Leaf Portal site. Keeping the northbound lane closed helps keep trucks from tracking out dirt which can wash into nearby Thornton Creek. Additionally, the northbound closure maintains a consistent traffic pattern rather than having continually shifting conditions. Unfamiliar changes in traffic can create a safety hazard.

Crews now plan to open the northbound lane once excavation is complete in May.

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Little Bertha comes to Maple Leaf Portal

February 10th, 2014 by Mike

Look familiar?

It’s not Big Bertha, the monster tunneling machine that’s still stuck with sand in its seals.

We’re not sure this one has a name (maybe we could name it!) but it is in our neighborhood, off First Avenue Northeast at the Maple Leaf Portal.

Sound Transit earlier today told the Ravenna Blog: “That’s not the cutter head, but pieces are coming together for the tunnel boring machine(s) that will mine Northgate tunnels!”

Two light rail tunnels  will be drilled from this location, roughly across First from SAS Shoes and  Silver Platters,  to Sound Transit’s Roosevelt Station, on 12th Avenue Northeast near Northeast 65th Street.

Tunnel machine names, anyone?

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Lane closures on both Interstate 5 and N.E. 92nd St. as light rail heads north

November 22nd, 2013 by Mike

Lanes will temporarily close on both Interstate 5 and the Northeast 92nd Street bridge over the freeway as crews work in several new areas to bring light rail to the Maple Leaf Portal.

The portal is where the light rail trains will emerge from underground to travel along I-5 to the Northgate rail station.

For the next two months crews will be relocating utility lines along the Northeast 92nd Street bridge over I-5.

The work will occur Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to Sound Transit.

It will involve occasional lane closures with flagging crews alternating traffic.

“Crews will also work beneath the bridge at night, requiring I-5 lane closures between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., Monday through Friday. Nighttime work is not anticipated to rise above the noise level of the freeway.”

There’s also a related Seattle Times story here.

Sound Transit also notes the following work:

Soldier pile installation near NE 94th Street
Crews will install solider piles to support the walls of the Maple Leaf Portal excavation. This daytime activity is unavoidably louder than other typical construction noise. Nearby residents may hear a periodic clanging noise. Crews expect pile installation to take approximately three months.

Utility work at First Avenue NE and NE 95th Street
Crews will work during the day in the intersection. Crews will flag traffic around the work.

Construction staging on First Avenue NE between NE 90th and NE 92nd streets
Construction crews will use the area between the west side of First Avenue NE and the WSDOT noise wall to store equipment and materials through 2017. Crews will install a screening and security fence before using the area.

Soldier pile installation near NE 94th Street
Crews will install solider piles to support the walls of the Maple Leaf Portal excavation. This daytime activity is unavoidably louder than other typical construction noise. Nearby residents may hear a periodic clanging noise. Crews expect pile installation to take approximately three months.

Utility work at First Avenue NE and NE 95th Street
Crews will work during the day in the intersection. Crews will flag traffic around the work.

Construction staging on First Avenue NE between NE 90th and NE 92nd streets
Construction crews will use the area between the west side of First Avenue NE and the WSDOT noise wall to store equipment and materials through 2017. Crews will install a screening and security fence before using the area.

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Light rail construction to begin at Maple Leaf Portal

September 30th, 2013 by Mike

Sound Transit announced today that work building a light trail tunnel from Roosevelt to Maple Leaf will begin as soon as this week.

Once construction begins, residents, local employees and drivers through the area will notice a series of short-term and long-term changes along First Avenue Northeast between Northeast 90th  and 100th streets.

The immediate work will continue until January, and will include bicycle detours and making First Avenue a one-way street. Details are here.

Trees and shrubs will be removed, and jackhammers will cut through concrete.

Long-term construction includes launching a tunnel boring machine from the Maple Leaf portal to drill two light rail tunnels to Sound Transit’s Roosevelt station, on 12th Avenue Northeast near Northeast 65th Street.

Other machines will tunnel between the underground Roosevelt station and the University District and Husky Stadium stations. North from the Maple Leaf Portal, the trains will run above ground along Interstate 5 to the Northgate station.

All this is predicted to take about four years and is the biggest chunk of the $2.1 billion Northgate Link Extension, set to fully open in 2021.

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