Construction alert: Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension


Sound Transit’s contractor will begin the underground utility work on Martin Luther King Jr. Way in front of Tacoma General Hospital as early as March 4. This first phase of work consists of digging a small horizontal tunnel under the existing Jackson Hall pedestrian tunnel for a new water line. The work will be located across from Jackson Hall Medical Center on the Tacoma General side of the street. This initial work is anticipated to take about one month through early April, and may take longer if obstructions are discovered.

You will see large equipment and deep pits near the hospital on Martin Luther King Jr. Way in front of Tacoma General Hospital.

Some construction activities will be noisy, including cutting, breaking up and removing pavement and pounding the metal shoring into the pits. The drilling under the Jackson Hall pedestrian tunnel is expected to be quiet without feeling vibration.

Two-way traffic on Martin Luther King Jr. Way will be maintained. Flaggers will help direct vehicles and pedestrians. Please cross the street at crosswalks. On-street parking will not be available near the construction area.

For the safety of patients, employees and workers, fences and barriers will surround the construction site. Access to the hospitals and medical centers will remain open during construction.

The Jackson Hall tunnel will continue to be open to the public. This pedestrian tunnel connects to the Baker Center and Tacoma General. We will monitor the tunnel during construction.

This construction work will not affect water service to the hospitals. The hospitals will continue to have water as usual.

Plan ahead and allow extra time to reach your destination.

Emergency access will remain on 5th Street off of MLK Jr. Way.


Instead of digging a trench for the underground water line, the contractor will dig a hole under the Jackson Hall pedestrian tunnel, using deep pits and a hydraulic drill. The steps include:

Cut and remove the pavement.

Dig deep pits on either side of the Jackson Hall pedestrian tunnel.

Install metal shoring in the pits for stability.

Use a crane to lower a hydraulic drill into one pit.

The drill will dig a hole under and across the pedestrian tunnel, pushing a metal pipe/casing forward while moving soil behind.

Soil is removed and hauled away.

When the drill completes the hole (called a bore), the crane will remove the hydraulic drill.

New water pipe will be threaded through the pipe/casing under the pedestrian tunnel.

Crews will remove the shoring, fill the pits and restore the pavement.


Underground utility work in front of Tacoma General will occur in phases. The contractor will come back in early spring to install several blocks of new water main. Then the contractor will do a second jack and bore operation for sanitary and storm sewer, located along the Jackson Hall Medical Center, this time going under both the Baker Center and Jackson Hall pedestrian tunnels. After that, crews will dig trenches for the remaining underground utility work on Martin Luther King Jr. Way from Division Avenue to 6th Avenue, including threading pipes through the installed casings. After the utility work is completed, crews will install track, stations (including a Tacoma General station) and the overhead power lines. We will keep you informed of this work.

If you have questions, contact outreach specialist Liz Satterwaite at or (253) 208-0586. After-hours construction hotline: 1 (888) 298-2395.

If you have parking or other questions about Tacoma General Hospital or Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, please visit MultiCare’s website at


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