BART Extension to South Bay One Year Ahead of Schedule, Thanks to Drought

By Damian Trujillo
|  Tuesday, Mar 11, 2014  |  Updated 2:33 PM PDT
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BART's plan to come to the South Bay is a full year ahead of schedule because of the lack of rainfall. NBC Bay Area's Damian Trujillo reports from the future Berryesa BART Station.

BART's plan to come to the South Bay is a full year ahead of schedule because of the lack of rainfall. NBC Bay Area's Damian Trujillo reports from the future Berryesa BART Station.

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BART's plan to extend service to the South Bay is a year ahead of schedule, thanks to the lack of Bay Area rainfall over the last two years.

The expansion project has crews building tracks to southern Fremont, Milpitas and San Jose.

The lack of rain has helped speed up the process, one positive side effect of the drought.

No rain meant crews got to spend more time on the job instead of being rained out.

"The dry weather has been wonderful when we’re digging the trenches,” VTA spokeswoman Bernice Alaniz said. “We have a mile and a quarter long trench at the Montague station area, so having that area dry really helped us do some of that mass excavation to actually construct the area for the trains to run underneath some of the major roadways.”

VTA officials said the extension to Berryessa is set to be completed by late 2017, which is a year earlier than anticipated.

Crews have been able to put in a lot of hours with the dry winter months. This means, in just under four years of work, BART trains will finally be rolling into San Jose.

The cost of the project is $3.2 billion. 

When the station at Berryessa opens, VTA said it can expect 23,000 trips per day to-and-from San Jose. That is just under 12,000 cars off of South Bay freeways.

That number is expected to increase to 100,000 trips per day.

VTA and BART are still looking for funds to begin Phase 2 of the BART extension to San Jose, which would mean BART trains rolling underneath downtown San Jose, onto the airport, and then to Santa Clara.

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