By Jack Mayne

King County Metro Transit is proposing to implement a new RapidRide H Line bus route connecting Burien and Seattle primarily using Ambaum Blvd. SW and SW 150th Street, the Burien Council heard at its Feb. 22 meeting.

The RapidRide program implements improved bus services that decrease travel times and increase bus frequency. This new RapidRide route will replace the existing Route 120 and will connect Burien’s Transit Center with downtown Seattle.

Agreement with Metro
An agreement between Metro and Burien is necessary for the city to manage the grant funds and pay the county to implement the project. The city staff has negotiated an agreement for the Council to consider.

The low bidder was Walsh Construction of Seattle, but no contract has yet been signed.

An agreement between King County Metro and Burien is necessary for the city to manage the grant funds and pay the county to implement the H Line Project.

The city says a financing and construction agreement has been negotiated for Council’s consideration.

Project on schedule
Kevin Kibet, Metro capital projects manager, told Council in response to a question from Councilmember Kevin Schilling that the project is on schedule and should be completed in 2022.

The work on construction will start in West Seattle and move south to White Center and thence to Ambaum Blvd. SW and SW 150th Street.

Kibet said he was not yet able to predict exact timing of work on Ambaum but “if all goes well, probably in June, July you’ll see some work.”

Impacts on Burien residents will be as little as possible, Kibet said.

Deputy Mayor Krystal Marx urged Kibet to encourage that Metro pass on updated information on the project to Council and to the public.

Councilmember Kevin Schilling asked Deputy Public Works Director Robin Tischmak if the city planned any improvements on the left turn lane for buses on 150th and Ambaum.

“Yes, that is part of the project” and part of the on-street parking may be removed to help the bus turn, said Tischmak.

Then Schilling wanted to know the impact of the West Seattle bridge closure. The bridge was closed in March 2020 after cracks in the underside were found to be growing rapidly, necessitating a major repair amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Seattle’s transportation department has announced the bridge will remain closed until at least 2022.

Kibet said “it’s hard to tell” the impact. Buses would continue to use the older, lower West Seattle Bridge, he said.

Early on, the city expected the project cost would be “about $14 million” and the city applied for a state regional mobility grant and the city asked for and got a $10 million grant for the work in Burien. Tischmak said approval of this part of the project will fit into the overall upgrade of the corridor.

Council moved the issue for final approval at its next meeting.

Senior Reporter Jack Mayne passed away in December, 2021. In his honor we have created the Jack Mayne Journalism Scholarship.