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October 16, 2007 > BART extension to Warm Springs

BART extension to Warm Springs

Anyone who has braved the morning commute on I-880 must have prayed for an alternative to the stop-and-go, accident-prone stretch running through the heart of Silicon Valley. A solution may not be too far away.

As part of a plan to extend BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to San Jose, an important extension from the existing Fremont station to Warm Springs has recently been approved by the Fremont City Council.

The Warm Springs Extension will add 5.4-miles of new track from the existing Fremont Station south to a new station in the Warm Springs District of the City of Fremont, with an optional station in the Irvington District., depending on future funding.

BART tracks will traverse Walnut Avenue and Stevenson Boulevard to a subway at Central Park. The path then will travel at ground level over Paseo Padre Parkway, under Washington Boulevard and Auto Mall Parkway, and over South Grimmer Boulevard.

The subway under Central Park requires two permanent ventilation and emergency evacuation structures that will extend approximately ten feet above ground. Construction of the subway will also require relocation of the dog park and two basketball courts and reconfiguration of the parking lot immediately adjacent to those facilities.

Instead of creating temporary structures for the dog park, basketball courts and parking lots, then permanently relocating them, the City and BART have decided to build permanent structures during construction of the subway. By planning for simultaneous construction projects - BART tracks beneath the park and relocation of park facilities - construction costs will be reduced. The savings will be used to create an additional 185 parking spaces and enhanced amenities such as lights for the dog park and basketball courts.

To maximize access to the park and its facilities during construction, special methods will be employed to protect adjoining park facilities outside the construction zone. Public access to the north end of the park will be provided at several points along Stevenson Boulevard, including the driveway on the east side of the Police Building, the driveway for the parking lot at the Softball Complex, and the driveways between the tennis courts and the two east softball fields.

Construction at the north end of the subway project will temporarily affect circulation on Stevenson Boulevard. To minimize any potential disruptions to circulation that could arise, Stevenson Boulevard will be temporarily rerouted through the north end of Fremont's Central Park, and returned to its original alignment upon completion of that portion of the subway.

The project will be completed in phases through the year 2011. Costs associated with the park project are the responsibility of BART, with no financial contribution from the city. The first phase of construction is expected to begin early 2009 with the construction of two parking lots, one near the Police Building and the other near the tennis courts.

Since part of the subway travels under Lake Elizabeth, a cofferdam will be built on the eastern side of the lake. A cofferdam is an enclosure beneath the water constructed to allow water to be displaced by air for the purpose of creating a dry work environment. This structure is expected to be in place for the entire period of construction; a temporary detour will be provided over the cofferdam to allow movement around the lake without interruption.

An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is being prepared for the proposed BART extension to Milpitas, San Jose and Santa Clara. This report is due to be reviewed by fall of 2008, subject to approval by the Federal Transit Authority. A decision is expected by the summer of 2009.

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