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In 2016, Sound Transit officials anticipate opening two major light-rail expansions and wrapping up tunnel mining for another planned light-rail route.Sound Transit Board Chair Dow Constantine yesterday joined Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff to provide a preview of those and other projects planned for the new year. "It will be a landmark year of progress for our critical work to get commuters out of congestion," Constantine said in a press release.The agency's University Link subway line is slated to begin serving passengers in March with new stations at the University of Washington and on Capitol Hill, while the South 200th Link will begin service in September. Both projects are expected to finish under budget: University Link has cost $150 million less than expected, while the South 200th Link came in $40 million below cost projections, Sound Transit officials said.The agency's board accelerated the latter project to open the same year as University Link, four years earlier than envisioned in the Sound Transit 2 ballot measure.By late 2016, Sound Transit will complete tunnel mining for the Northgate Link light-rail extension. So far, the agency has completed 12 tunnel segments. By the end of the year, three more segments will be completed. In summer, Sound Transit will kick off construction of the elevated light-rail station that will serve the line, which is expected to open in 2021.Meanwhile, Sound Transit also will begin construction of the East Link light-rail expansion, which is slated to open in 2023. The project will expand light-rail service across Lake Washington to and from the cities of Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond's Overlake area, including the Microsoft campus, Sound Transit officials said.Finally, Sound Transit's board in March is scheduled to release a draft of its Sound Transit 3 ballot measure, which could include additional light-rail expansions.
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