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Episode 141             Episode 143
Episode 142

Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel
Sun, 2017-Sep-24 00:06 UTC
Length - 4:56

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Sunday, 24 September 2017 is Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel.

The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT), also referred to as the Metro Bus Tunnel, is a 1.3-mile-long (2.1 km) pair of public transit tunnels in Seattle, Washington, United States. The tunnel serves Downtown Seattle, running west under Pine Street from 9th Avenue to 3rd Avenue, and south under 3rd Avenue to South Jackson Street. It was used only by buses from its opening in 1990 until 2005, and since 2009 it has been shared by buses and light rail. The double-track tunnel and its stations, except Convention Place, constitute parts of the Central Link light rail line, which continues north to the University of Washington station and south through the Rainier Valley to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport as part of Sound Transit's Link light rail network. Its five stations are also served by King County Metro and Sound Transit Express buses that leave the tunnel north via Interstate 5, south via the SODO Busway, or east via Interstate 90. The DSTT is the busiest section of the Link light rail network, with an average of over 10,000 weekday boardings. It is owned by King County Metro and shared with Sound Transit through a joint-operating agreement signed in 2002. The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel is one of two tunnels in the United States shared by buses and trains, the other being the Mount Washington Transit Tunnel in Pittsburgh, and is the only one in the United States with shared stations.

Though proposals for a rapid transit tunnel under 3rd Avenue were introduced in the 1910s and 1920s, planning for the modern bus and rail Metro Bus Tunnel only began in 1974. The King County Metro Council approved the bus tunnel proposal in November 1983, but construction did not begin until March 1987. The tunnel between Convention Place and Westlake stations was built using the cut-and-cover method, closing Pine Street for 19 months and disrupting nearby retail businesses. The segment from Westlake to the International District was bored with two tunnel-boring machines, heading north from Union Station and finishing within a month of each other. Tests of normal buses and the Breda dual-mode buses built specifically for tunnel routes began in March 1989; tunnel construction was declared complete in June 1990, at a cost of $469 million. Light rail tracks were installed in anticipation of future rapid transit service through the tunnel, which was later found to be poorly insulated and unusable for Link light rail. Soft openings and public previews of the five tunnel stations were held from August 1989 to September 1990, with regular bus service beginning on September 15, carrying 28,000 daily passengers in its first year of operation. For the next several years, until June 2004, service in the tunnel was provided exclusively by dual-mode buses, which ran as trolleybuses in the tunnel – like the city's extensive trolleybus system – and as diesel buses on surface streets and freeways.

The tunnel was closed on September 24, 2005, for modification to accommodate both buses and Sound Transit's Central Link light rail trains with shared lanes and platforms. The roadway was lowered by 8 inches (20 cm) and other improvements were made to prepare for light rail service. New hybrid electric buses were moved into the tunnel to replace the Breda fleet, as the overhead wire was replaced for light rail trains. The tunnel reopened on September 24, 2007, and light rail service began on July 18, 2009. A stub tunnel, branching from the main tunnel, was constructed under Pine Street to allow light rail trains to stop and reverse direction; it was later used as the first segment of a light rail extension to Capitol Hill and the University of Washington that opened in 2016. Plans call for the downtown transit tunnel to lose its bus service during the permanent closure of Convention Place station in 2019; from that point on, the tunnel will be used only by light rail trains.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:06 UTC on Sunday, 24 September 2017.

For the full current version of the article, go to

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