King County Metro announced this week that it has rescheduled the launch date for the RapidRide H Line, allowing crews time to complete construction on transit facility upgrades, bus lanes and intersection improvements.
RapidRide H Line – currently operating as route 120 through Burien – was previously scheduled to launch in fall 2022, but will now be delayed until March, 2023.
Metro says that unforeseen construction and materials delays from the regional concrete strike that began in early December 2021 have added several months to the original timeline of the RapidRide H Line project, which is building improvements to transform the 13-mile corridor served by route 120 between downtown Seattle, West Seattle, White Center and Burien. In support of the project, the Seattle Department of Transportation construction crews began roadway improvements in the Delridge neighborhood in 2020 and completed major construction earlier this year. King County began installing RapidRide stations in Seattle in early 2021 and launched construction on segments outside of Seattle in May 2021.
While construction continues, Route 120 will continue to operate its frequent and reliable schedule. The route currently operates near RapidRide service levels with trips every seven minutes during rush hour in the peak direction and every 10-15 minutes throughout the day, plus frequent weekend service.
The project includes an estimated $87 million in King County and Seattle investments in new transit stations, bus lanes, traffic signal upgrades, pedestrian safety improvements and amenity enhancements between South Lake Union, downtown Seattle, Delridge and West Seattle, White Center and Burien. Project staff are monitoring projected expenditures and will adjust cost estimates in the face of this longer construction timeline, and identify budget resources if necessary.
Before launching service, crews will need to complete construction related to pedestrian and driver safety, bus speed and reliability improvements, and customer enhancements at 26 bus zones, across Seattle, Unincorporated King County and Burien.
An estimated 4,500 riders use route 120 each weekday, making it the sixth busiest bus route in Metro’s network and ranking competitively with Metro’s existing RapidRide lines. Route 120 serves many communities that are more diverse and have a lower income than the county average. While the RapidRide H Line service launches in March 2023, riders and community members are already benefitting from upgrades in the Delridge neighborhood, such as RapidRide stations, dedicated bus lanes and safer street crossings.
Under the revised implementation schedule, Metro plans to add more daily bus trips to coincide with the launch of the RapidRide service in March 2023, which will then improve frequent service to provide a bus trip in both directions every seven minutes during peak commute times.
Crews already have completed approximately 40% of the overall construction work, including installing shelters and amenities at 26 bus stations, City of Seattle roadway and pedestrian safety improvements, and roadway speed and reliability improvements. Between now and March 2023, construction crews will focus on completing:
- Roadway speed and reliability improvements
- Pedestrian safety improvements
- Traffic signalization
- Sidewalk and pedestrian access improvements
- Business Access and Transit (BAT) lanes
- Technology pylon installations
- Shelter installations at half of the bus zones
Here’s a map of the RapidRide H Line route:
More info on the King County Metro RapidRide H line project page.