BART Silicon Valley Project Enters Phase 2

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
The project’s $6.8 billion final phase will expand BART operations six miles through downtown San José to Santa Clara, and include one at-grade and three underground stations.

The project’s $6.8 billion final phase will expand BART operations six miles through downtown San José to Santa Clara, and include one at-grade and three underground stations.

Phase 2 of the 16-mile Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Silicon Valley project is under way with the start of design, engineering and contract procurement. Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) recently released the first Request for Industry Feedback (RFIF) for tunnel and track work. This $6.8 billion final phase will expand BART operations six miles through downtown San José to Santa Clara and include four new stations (see map below).

The California project’s $2.3 billion first phase broke ground in 2012 and launched June 13, 2020. It runs 10 miles from Warm Springs in Fremont to Berryessa in San José with two new stations (see map below). Each station is part of two new transit centers: the Milpitas Transit Center (with a connection to VTA’s Milpitas Light Rail Station) and the Berryessa Transit Center (with a link to rapid bus service to and from downtown San José). The joint venture of Skanska, Shimmick and Herzog was awarded the design-build contract; Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc. served as lead designer.  

BART Silicon Valley Project: Phase 1 launched in June (purple). Phase 2 work (yellow) is under way.

Phase 2 will extend service from Berryessa/North San José (Berryessa Transit Center) to Santa Clara, adjacent to the current Caltrain station. VTA awarded a general engineering consultant contract to MacDonald/PGH Wong Engineering in January 2019.

An approximately five-mile-long, 48-foot exterior diameter single-bore tunnel is planned for Phase 2, with three underground stations (28th Street/Little Portugal, Downtown San José, and Diridon) and one at-grade station (Santa Clara). The project also calls for two mid-tunnel ventilation and egress facilities, and a maintenance and storage yard.

Similar to Phase 1, VTA is the funding agency and will manage the delivery of Phase 2, while BART is system operator and maintainer.

In August 2019, Acting Federal Transit Administrator K. Jane Williams announced a pledge of $125 million for Phase 2 of the BART Silicon Valley Project under the Expedited Project Delivery (EPD) Pilot Program, which enables transit agencies to fast-track the federal funding process. The pledge is part of the approximately $1.71 billion in federal funds that VTA will be requesting to cover 25% of Phase 2 costs. State grants (totaling $911 million), transit-oriented development (P3; $75 million), Measure A sales tax ($1.95 billion), Measure B sales tax ($1.83 billion) and Regional Measure 3 ($375 million) are expected to cover 75% of the costs.

Phase 2 will be delivered through four main construction contracts: tunnel and track work, systems, stations, and Santa Clara Station and Newhall Yard. They are expected to be a combination of design-build and progressive design-build.

The first RFIF is for tunnel and track work. It covers the single-bore tunnel (see below), running from the terminus south of the recently opened Berryessa/North San José Station through downtown San José, along Santa Clara Street, to the planned Newhall Maintenance Facility in Santa Clara. The tunnel’s approximately 43-foot internal diameter will accommodate two BART trainways. The Downtown San José and Diridon station platforms will be constructed within the tunnel.

Courtesy of VTA

The tunnel and track work contract will include procurement of the tunnel boring machine, utility relocations, portal enabling works and permanent structures, manufacturing and installation of the precast tunnel lining, construction of internal tunnel structures, construction of ancillary ventilation/egress facilities, support of excavation of the 28th Street/Little Portugal Station, and track installation.

The next RFIF, due within 10 days, will cover work on systems, including systemwide equipment/fixtures, such as large emergency ventilation fans, tunnel lighting, communication systems, bulk power supply stations, traction power, line electrical, radio and train control. The other RFIFs will be for stations (including utilities, site preparation work, station structures and platforms, ventilation and egress shaft, and underground station support of excavation installation) and for the Santa Clara Station and Newhall Yard (including the maintenance and operations yard and buildings, yard track and rail, civil site restoration and demobilization, and full construction of the street-level Santa Clara Station and parking garage).

Following the RFIFs will be Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) and Requests for Proposals (RFP) over the next two years. Takis Salpeas, Chief, BART Silicon Valley Extensions for VTA, told Railway Age he is hopeful that the tunnel and track work and systems contracts will be awarded by the end of next year. Construction is expected to start in 2022 and wrap up in 2028. Systems testing, integration and safety certification are scheduled next, with Phase 2 opening in 2030.

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