Long-delayed Sounder rail station in Mukilteo almost finished

MUKILTEO — Commuters are waiting on more than trains these days at the Sounder station near the waterfront.

The opening of Mukilteo’s second — and mostly finished — train platform is a year behind schedule and counting.

Sound Transit officials believe they’ll be able to welcome passengers to the upgraded station within weeks. A contractor’s trouble getting elevators approved by state inspectors is the latest in a series of holdups.

“It’s looking like late January or early February,” said Eric Beckman, a Sound Transit deputy executive director. “We have a soft target at this point, because there are a few things out of our control.”

Construction began on the $11 million facility in 2014. The project is expected to remain within budget, even with the delay, Beckman said.

When complete, the new platform and enclosures should give people a waiting area out of the elements. A pedestrian bridge over the tracks will provide access to the new south platform from the north platform in use now.

“It is a very beautiful facility, probably one of the nicest Sounder stations we have,” Beckman said.

Having two platforms at the station should make it more efficient to dispatch trains, he said.

Station parking will remain the same, at 63 spaces.

Originally slated to open in early 2015, the timeline grew, in part, because of BNSF Railway’s restrictions regarding work over its tracks during the final quarter of the year, its busiest season.

A new glitch cropped up in October.

Inspectors from the state Department of Labor &Industries identified problems on two elevator cars, said Matthew Erlich, a spokesman for the agency. Until the elevators pass inspection, the state considers them property of contractor Olympic Elevator Co., of Redmond.

“We’re trying to get additional information from the elevator company to process the plans and approve the permit,” Erlich said.

The new station will tie into a waterfront makeover underway in Mukilteo since the city took ownership of the former U.S. Air Force tank-farm site nearby.

“It’ll be great to have the completed access to the Sounder platform,” Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson said. “It’s the first piece of the tank-farm transformation. The shape of the rest of the waterfront starts to come together.”

State contractors are now in the process of removing an old pier and pilings to make way for a new ferry dock. Construction on the new $129 million terminal is expected to begin in 2017 and finish in 2019.

The Mukilteo Sounder station opened in 2008.

An average of 130 commuters board there every weekday. Ridership is growing. It increased by 21 percent on the Everett-to-Seattle Sounder run during the third quarter of 2015 compared to a year earlier.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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