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Originally published July 23, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 23, 2007 at 2:04 AM

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Tukwila Station takes wing

Drivers heading to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport can finally see proof that light rail is on the way, a decade after voters approved...

Key dates

Projections for beginning of rail service:

July 2009: From Westlake Center to Tukwila.

December 2009: Service scheduled to reach Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

2016: Service expected to reach Husky Stadium. Construction on a three-mile tunnel north from Westlake Center to begin in late 2008.

Drivers heading to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport can finally see proof that light rail is on the way, a decade after voters approved a regional transit line.

Tukwila Station, three levels above ground, is almost finished.

Its angular roof evokes "airplanes, liftoff, the idea of elevation, the slope and wing of airplanes," said its architect, David Hewitt, of Seattle. The shape is like the "V" angle formed by two wings meeting at the fuselage of a jet.

But the most surprising spectacle is the view from the boarding platforms. Typically, people in the south suburbs look toward Mount Rainier for a directional landmark — but the panorama is to the north, of Mount Baker and Mount Pilchuck.

The glass-walled station will be illuminated at night, creating a beacon where Highway 518 meets International Boulevard South (Highway 99).

This is the line's only planned park-and-ride station, with 600 spaces, plus lanes for buses, shuttle vans, and "kiss-and-ride" users dropped off there. Unlike most other stations, which are designed to encourage walk-up use, the Tukwila Station could lure motorists off the highways.

Construction on the 16-mile, $2.7 billion line from Westlake Center in downtown Seattle to the airport is more than two-thirds completed.

— Mike Lindblom, Seattle Times transportation reporter

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