BART board to vote on $267M retrofit for Transbay Tube

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- BART's board is voting on a major retrofit project on Thursday. It's designed to keep Transbay commuters safe in a massive earthquake.

It's a $287 million project, part of a bond that was voter approved about a decade ago. What riders didn't know is that when and if the project starts, it could impact the availability of their trains.

Approximately 220,000 people pass through BART's Transbay Tube a day. Ask riders about safety in an earthquake and they'll tell you they hope BART is doing everything possible to secure it.

"It should be made safe. I wouldn't want to get stuck down there without any way to get out," passenger Donna Matthew said.

"It's very important to me because when BART strikes happened or when the tube breaks down, it is hard to get across the bridge," rider Leroy Francis said.

BART officials say they get it and are discussing an upcoming project that will secure it in what they call a 1,000-year event.

"As in an earthquake so large, it only happens every 1,000 years," spokesperson Alicia Trost said.

The plan calls for installing metal plates in the tube and improving the pumping system.

Crews would do the work overnight when trains aren't running but would want extra time for the work.

BART is talking about not opening until 5 a.m. during the construction. "We know 2,600 people ride BART between 3:45 a.m. and 4:45 a.m. We need to figure out who are those people, do they have any other options besides BART, where are they coming from, what could we possibly do to help if we don't start opening until 5 a.m." Trost said.

They're also talking about single tracking through the tube after 9:30 p.m. There's plenty of time to talk about it and plan.

The construction wouldn't start for another year-and-a-half but it would last for up to 2-and-a-half years.
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