With funding for the first phase of the BART Silicon Valley extension project nearly complete, construction activities along the line in Milpitas and North San Jose are getting ready to start.
To help residents understand what projects are coming as early as 2012, Valley Transportation Authority hosted an open house last Thursday to allow residents to meet and ask questions of the planners and engineers. About 100 people attended the meeting at the East Side Union High School District.
“We’re here to touch on some of the current and near-term project activities,” Bernice Alaniz, deputy director for marketing and communications at VTA told the audience. Alaniz noted that one of the biggest projects to date has been working with Union Pacific Railroad to . That included moving utilities and grade separation in both Milpitas and Fremont.
But several high-profile construction projects are still ahead. Among them are full-service BART stations in and in the Berryessa neighborhood of North San Jose. The meeting on May 26 focused on the , particularly planned construction at the nearby Lundy Avenue and Sierra Road intersection and how people who live near the area may be impacted.
“The Berryessa station will encompass about 50 acres between Berryessa and Mabury Roads and will serve as a temporary end of the line station until the rest of the (extension) project is completed,” Alaniz said.
But before the station can be built, Leyla Hedayat, a planning and programming manager at VTA, noted the engineer and design teams are tackling numerous challenges. Among them is building the BART trench diagonally under the busy intersection of Lundy Avenue and Sierra Road.
Adding to the complexity are making sure that existing storm drains and water pumps are placed below the BART tracks and utilities like water, communications, electrical and gas are placed on top of the BART trench. To sum it up, Hedayat said, “We will have the storm and sewer below, the BART trains running through the trench and the other utilities on top.”
Unfortunately, construction will slow traffic at the busy intersection. Hedayat said officials are considering three plans to help minimize the impact. Depending on which plan is selected, construction will take two-3½ years to complete and would result in limited access to full closure of the intersection.
Some residents at the meeting expressed concern about how noise from BART would affect nearby residential areas. Hedayat noted that new sound walls will be added where needed and certain residential homes may qualify for noise retrofitting. VTA officials will identify and notify affected homeowners.
Construction of the Berryessa Extension will begin in early 2012 and continue through 2017 with passenger service starting the following year. The cost is estimated at $2.1 billion with most of the funding already in place.
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