Excessive heat impacts travel, services across the region

People across the region are feeling the impacts of the excessive heat affecting travel and services.

Sound Transit customers using the rail systems on Monday saw delays between 20-25 minutes long due to trains operating at reduced speeds. The slower travel was done as a safety precaution in the high temperatures. 

Scott Thompson, a spokesperson, said the Link Light Rail operated at 30 MPH, instead of its normal 50 MPH limit. He also said the Sounder Commuter Rail operated at 40 MPH, instead of its normal 50-60 MPH limit.

Thompson said in the excessive heat the tracks expand and contract, which warps the shape. This could potentially cause the train to go off the tracks.

"With Link Light Rail, you’ve got a couple of issues going on. There’s the track situation, but you also have to worry about the overhead power lines. They are held in tight tension with metal turnbuckles. And if those metal turnbuckles get hot, they expand and then the electrical lines tend to sag and it becomes a connectivity issue," said Thompson.

Sound Transit also halted construction throughout the region during Monday’s excessive heat.

"Those guys are out there in helmets and hard hats and gloves and stuff and it’s hard to get cool when you’re working that close to hot things," said Thompson.

A number of roads across the region buckled under the scorching sun. Monday, crews with the Washington State Department of Transportation repaired pavement on I-5 South near 130th Street NE. 

In Snohomish County, a large car fire on I-5 North turned into a brush fire. Crews were able to put out the flames before they spread.

People trying to stay cool during the third-day hot weather said not only has it been uncomfortable, but it has also been dangerous.

"I’ve honestly passed out from the heat before. So, it is scary. You should drink water," said Dallas Jennings while traveling through the Angle Lake Station in SeaTac. "It has no business being this hot up here."

"I stay in the house with everything closed up and the fans on and just continue to drink water," said Carol Harvey while traveling through the Angle Lake Station in SeaTac. "This is not Seattle. This is not okay. If this were eastern Washington it would be fine, dry heat, perfect. Western Washington? No. We don’t do this."

Some customers of Republic Services waste collection in south King County did not see pick up, Monday. The company said it was too hot for crews to service every neighborhood.

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