The project to extend BART service to San Jose has hit a snag that could mean both delays for the project and bigger delays for thousands of drivers in the construction zone.
The construction is going to take nearly a year longer than expected and Dixon Landing Road between Interstate 880 and Milpitas Boulevard will have to be partially closed for the next 18 months.
Work on the project has already started along Dixon Landing Road and has been causing traffic slowdowns for months. The VTA was hoping to get the work done by early next year, but a permit issue and a fight between a city and the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority is pushing it back another 10 months.
Alvin Sojourner, who lives in Fremont, said he’s been frustrated by the construction’s impact on traffic so far.
“If you want to go to McCarthy Ranch or come from 880, it’s just crazy to come,” Sojourner said. “We have to go all around.”
Dixon Landing Road between 880 and Milpitas Boulevard is already down to one lane each way.
“Particularly in the evening about 4:30, 5 o’clock, it’s really, really bad,” Sojourner said.
Now drivers already frustrated with traffic will have to deal with more delays.
The original plan was to completely shut down Dixon Landing Road for eight months so the area can be prepared for the BART extension into San Jose.
But the city of Milpitas turned down the VTA’s request for a permit, which means, instead of eight months of full closure, Dixon will be partially closed for 18 months.
“The overall impacts are less with the full closure in eight months,” VTA Communications Director Bernice Alaniz said. “The community would rather learn a detour, have a detour that adds capacity, get used to a new route. With the 18-month project, we’re going to be doing ongoing lane shifts and adjustments.”
The Silicon Valley BART extension project is still on track to open on time in 2017.
The VTA says this is a bump in the road, but the agency will make up for the time in other ways.