BART reaches milestone on way to Warm Springs

Wayne Freedman Image
ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Friday, October 3, 2014
BART reaches milestone on way to Warm Springs
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There was a milestone for BART in the East Bay as the tracks are inching little by little to Fremont's Warm Springs district.

ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- There was a significant milestone for BART in the East Bay on Thursday. The tracks are inching little by little to Fremont's Warm Springs district towards San Jose.

A tunnel in Fremont is roughly 20 feet below the ground and has been some 40 years in the making. And by next year, about 7,000 commuters will be very happy to be able to ride BART further south.

They said it couldn't be done because there was too much controversy, but not any more. In Fremont, BART's traditional end of the line is posed to move after decades.

BART project manager Paul Medved said since 1972 nothing has moved further south, except for bus service.

And there will still be bus service until December of 2015. Regardless, that did not stop BART and local representatives from celebrating Thursday.

"Today's event was mostly symbolic," Medved said.

They're comparing the new bridge spanning Walnut Avenue it to the golden spike that connected the Transcontinental Railroad. It will serve as the gateway for five more miles of track to Warm Springs, and become a relief for some 7,000 commuters a day.

Medved has spent 14 years on the $767 million undertaking. That's one third of his career. He said, "This has been well thought out. That is the one thing that the time has allowed us to do." When asked how he could tell it was well thought out, he responded, "I can attest to it."

It's been well argued, too.

Molly McArthur from BART said there has been "thirty and 40 years of planning, un-planning, re-planning."

Among the compromises a mile and a half of the new line runs underground beneath Central Park and Lake Elizabeth. The terminus is in Warm Springs -- an artistic blend of form and function.

"Basically, the art glass, I think is very impressive. If you look along the roofline, you'll see the art glass that is supposed to represent the hills in the background," construction manager Marty Oatman said.

The Warm Springs station will be BARTS's new future end of the line, until the end of the line moves south again.