Next closure for more track work will be Memorial Day weekend
BART is running on schedule again this morning between Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill, after weekend work on a major construction project that involved removing and installing 1200 feet of rail weighing some 4 million pounds in under 48 hours.
BART Chief Communications Officer Linton Johnson called it "pretty remarkable" that such a massive feat was accomplished in such a short time, with the first train carrying passengers through the area again at full speed at 4:20 a.m. this morning.
The work was part of a major construction project using $13 million in federal stimulus funds that will allow BART to offer Pittsburg/Bay Point line customers more empty seats and better on-time service. The project requires two temporary shutdowns of track between Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill -- one this past weekend, and another planned for May over Memorial Day weekend. Bus bridges are put in place during the closures to carry passengers between the stations.
Last weekend’s work represented the largest planned track outage at BART in more than a decade. Crews began installing "crossover tracks," which allow trains to cross onto another trackway in order to get around a disabled train ahead of it, or simply to turn around and go the opposite direction. The project started in October 2009 and has a target for completion this winter. By adding two more crossover points, trains won’t have to travel as far to get to a point in the track that allows them to cross onto a different set of tracks to bypass a disabled train.
The two new crossover tracks will allow BART the flexibility to provide more seating for riders between Pleasant Hill and Rockridge stations during the commutes without having to expand the fleet. Learn more about this project by visiting www.bart.gov/ccc. The $38 million project creates nearly 1,200 direct and indirect jobs. One third of the money, or $13 million dollars, is federal stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.
The second weekend track closure will take place over the Memorial Day weekend starting at 9:00 p.m. Friday, May 28 through 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 1. BART suggests customers allow up to 20 additional minutes for the bus detour. If riders are heading west, they may want to initiate their BART trip at the Walnut Creek or Lafayette stations to avoid the bus bridge altogether. BART will try to ensure that a bus meets every train. Customers should look for the signs for the bus bridge stops. BART is reminding passengers to keep their BART ticket as they will need it to enter and exit stations. Additional information will be provided closer to the May closure.
Originally posted March 10, 2010; updated with press conference on March 24, 2010; updated with weekend closure being completed successfully on March 29, 2010.