Construction workers with Santa Clara County’s Valley Transportation Authority are on pace to open the first BART stations in the county six months ahead of schedule.
Despite the Bay Area’s historically wet winter, more than five years of drought before that gave construction crews more dry days to build, and they took advantage of the extra sunshine.
The Milpitas BART station at Montague Expressway and Capitol Avenue and another station farther south at Berryessa Avenue near King Road in San Jose will carry BART passengers 10 miles deeper into the South Bay’s growing population centers.
Steve Tran, who works as a restaurant chef, can’t wait.
"Is it faster than driving? Yes, it’s better," Tran said.
The VTA, which oversaw construction, said the drought helped construction crews work ahead of schedule.
"We had several years of dry weather in which we worked straight through," agency spokeswoman Stacey Hendler Ross said.
The Milpitas station will have 1,200 parking spaces and potentially 120 charging stations for electric vehicles. There will be room for 10 food trucks and retail space.
But the VTA cautions it is still possible that the scheduled late December opening could be delayed. The tracks and computers that run the trains still have to be tested.
"If there’s one tiny detail that isn’t right, we have to stop and fix it until everything is in sync," Hendler Ross said.
Approval of environmental reports to extend BART to Santa Clara could happen by the end of the year.
The VTA estimates BART will take as many as 20,000 commuters off roadways between the new Warm Springs station in Fremont and the Milpitas station and another 20,000 between the Milpitas and Berryessa stations.