Sound Transit shuts down nearly all construction systemwide due to COVID-19 safety concerns

A rendering of the Lynnwood City Center Link light rail station. (Image courtesy Sound Transit)

Due to COVID-19 risks, Sound Transit said Monday it is directing contractors to suspend almost all construction on its region-wide transit expansion projects — including the Lynnwood Link light rail extension — starting immediately through May 4.

The very limited work that does continue will focus on tasks considered critical and/or necessary to ensure that all sites remain safe and secure  — and/or to avoid mobility, environmental or other impacts, the transit agency said.

“The main construction work on the Lynnwood Link has stopped,” said Chad Oxford, who is a Sound Transit contract employee assigned to work with the City of Mountlake Terrace. “Only erosion control and some utility work is continuing. Permitting and project coordination between ST and the cities is also still going forward.”

City of Lynnwood spokesperson Julie Moore said it is the city’s understanding that Sound Transit will wrap up some of the work currently being done on the columns at the Lynnwood City Center Station.

Any scheduled work will move forward only under appropriate safety measures including additional worker training and increased monitoring of updated safety plans, Sound Transit said.

Safety measures will include:

  • Reducing work crew sizes
  • Staggering report times to avoid large groups
  • Adding sanitation facilities including more hand washing and hand sanitizer stations
  • Using face shields
  • Screening of employee wellness by first line supervisors upon reporting to the site
  • Emphasis of COVID-19 symptom recognition, personal protective measures, personal protective equipment and revised work practices

In a statement released Monday, Sound Transit said it arrived at the decision to suspend work “after carefully evaluating what heightened measures would be necessary to ensure the safety of the construction workforce and whether contractors are prepared to take those measures.”

Contractors will continue to monitor security at worksites and to maintain the sites, including environmental protection measures.

Sound Transit added it has the discretion to extend or decrease the shutdown period. “The agency will monitor the circumstances surrounding each project and continue to work closely with federal, state and local authorities and its labor and contractor partners to evaluate future actions,” Sound Transit said.

 

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