A project to improve service on one of Seattle’s most-traveled bus routes got a boost last week in the form of a $64.2 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
The RapidRide J Line project is a partnership between the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and King County Metro to upgrade King County Metro’s Route 70 bus route — one of the most used routes in Seattle and an important connection between downtown, Belltown, South Lake Union, Eastlake and the University District.
The project includes installing thicker pavement, safety enhancements such as new shelters and protected bike lanes and planting 100 trees along the route.
The $128.5 million project is partially funded by the nine-year Levy to Move Seattle program, which voters passed in 2015.
Officials are hoping the improvements being made through the RapidRide J Line project and other projects under the Levy to Move Seattle program will entice more people to use public transportation.
“The RapidRide J Line expands King County’s high-capacity transit network. We’re connecting growing communities with fast, frequent service to get people where they want to be, when they want to be there,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said. “From light rail to the Streetcar to the Water Taxi, RapidRide lines and more, we are building a truly integrated mobility system, with the partnerships that can make this ambitious vision real.”
Funding includes the $64.2 million FTA grant, an additional $9.6 million from the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) and $43 million from the city of Seattle. The six-year design phase was completed in 2023. Construction is scheduled to begin this year. The goal for completion is 2027.
In addition to the federal funding, the Washington State Department of Transportation and the University of Washington will each contribute $6 million to the project.
Seattle Public Utilities will also replace a water main along the route during repaving. The $28 million project is considered separate from the RapidRide J Line project.
The RapidRide J Line is one of many major transit investments being made under the Levy to Move Seattle program.
Other major transit investments include the Madison St-Rapid Ride G line, which received nearly $60 million in federal funding, the Delridge Way SW-RapidRide H Line and other Transit-Plus Multimodal Corridors throughout Seattle.
The Rapid Ride J line will pass over the newly rebuilt Fairview Ave N Bridge, a Levy to Move Seattle project that was completed in 2021.
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Photo courtesy of SDOT