LTK assumed the role of systems engineering consultant in 1998 for Sound Transit’s Link program. Leading a team of 32 specialty engineering, architectural and professional services firms, including 22 with offices in the Central Puget Sound region and 20 of which are certified M/W/DBE organizations, LTK was involved in conceptual design and preliminary engineering to support a EIS/FFGA process for the Central Line, a 25-mile corridor from the University of Washington in north Seattle through downtown and the SeaTac airport to a major park and ride facility at South 200th Street.
As part of this initial assignment, the LTK team completed conceptual design, preliminary engineering and final design of the Tacoma Line, a 1.6-mile stretch in downtown Tacoma from the multi-modal Tacoma Dome Station to the Theatre District. The systems engineering elements for both Link programs include light rail vehicles, communications and central control systems, train control signals, traction power with overhead contact system, stray current protection and corrosion control analysis and design, system-wide electrical design, and operations maintenance planning support. LTK has total responsibility for maintenance facilities, including all civil, architectural, track, electrical, mechanical and industrial issues.
LTK’s proprietary software tools were used to support the design of the traction electrification system for the proposed Central Link alignment. The simulation analysis confirmed that the system is capable of supporting variable length train consists, varying headways, and system contingency outages. Two-, three-, and four-car consists were studied operating at two-, four-, and eight-minute headways in various sections of the route. The simulation analysis also confirmed the rating and spacing of traction power substations as well as the adequacy of the planned OCS conductor sizes.
The LTK contract was extended in January 2000 to include final design of the systems elements and program management for the vehicle procurement for the Central Line and construction management services for the Tacoma Line and the LTK‑designed maintenance facility was completed. The Tacoma Link, just 30 miles south of Seattle, was put into operation in August 2003. LTK administered the vehicle contract and managed the construction coming in under budget and on-time. The Link’s ridership has exceeded all projections.
The shop and yard substations have been delivered, installed and tested. Three streetcars were ordered and were shipped from the Czech Republic in July 2002, arriving in early September in Tacoma. By late 2002, track and a portion of the overhead contact system had been installed, and the streetcars were under test.
Due to budgetary concerns, the Central Line project was shortened to a 14-mile project. LTK has continued with its final design activities, including completion of design work on the maintenance facility and yard, within the common core of the new alignment. LTK also has assisted Sound Transit in preparation of a Request for Proposals for 31 low-floor light rail vehicles, which was issued in early 2003. This resulted in a procurement contract which was awarded to Kinki Sharyo in January 2004. LTK was also involved in design support during construction and construction management activities for all system elements.
The initial operating segment opened for revenue service on July 18, 2009, followed by an extension to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Daily ridership is estimated to be 26,600 by 2010. LTK was responsible for the design of approximately $300 million in systems contracts out of the total $2.1 billion Central Link budget. LTK also supported the new EIS process for finding an affordable and acceptable route north to Northgate, a program referred to as North Link.