Bus bridge scheduled for busy Oakland BART hub during two upcoming weekends

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A bus bridge across one of BART's busiest hubs caught some riders off guard Saturday and Sunday. There will be more track closures over Labor Day weekend and again in late September.

BART says the track replacement work is vital and in the long run and will improve reliability.

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"Shuttle bus 19th street. Where you going?" asked one of several BART employees in bright vests who directed riders. With the help of BART guides people navigated the bus bridge between the 19th Street and West Oakland stations.

"Oh, it was insane. Like sardines," noted one BART rider.

Saturday's shutdown caught some off guard, but on Sunday most riders took it in stride.

"It's expected they've got to do their repairs and stuff so it's the way it goes," commented a regular commuter.

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BART is repairing and upgrading a section of track near the West Oakland station. Switchers are being replaced. They change the direction of the trains. Four-thousand feet of rail is also being swapped and wooden railroad ties are being upgraded to concrete. BART says 100 person crews do the work over the two day closures.

"Keeping the tracks up to date though and that's the important thing. Keeping everything safe for BART and that's healthy for all of us," said Greg Wilson, a BART rider in from Fresno.

The goal is for the new section of railway to last another 40 to 50 years. The bus bridge is estimated to take 10 to 15 minutes.

Greg and Jim Wilson calculated the extra time into their trip to the Giants game based on experience.

"We're used to this because they had the delay a year or so ago between Bayfair and San Leandro we just left Fresno a little bit earlier to compensate for the bus ride," said Jim Wilson, a BART rider from Fresno.

There will be another closure over Labor Day weekend and again on September 22nd and 23rd. If the work can be completed early BART will cancel the late September closure.

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