VTA awards $235-million contract for San Jose BART extension

Review will study a controversial “single bore” tunnel beneath Downtown

San Francisco /
May.May 10, 2022 09:33 AM
BART train. San Jose California (iStock)
(iStock)

The Valley Transportation Authority board has awarded a $235-million contract to build the San Jose BART extension while also launching a new analysis of its “single bore” tunnel plan.

(Valley Transportation Authority)
(Valley Transportation Authority)

The Bay Area transit agency awarded the contract, billed as the “foundational backbone” of the six-mile project, while approving an independent review of its controversial design, the San Jose Mercury News reported. The BART extension would run from East San Jose to Santa Clara.

The $235-million contract went to Kiewit Shea Traylor, a consortium of three construction companies that will develop the project design and set the stage for construction. The extensive tunnel-mining and station-building project is expected to cost billions of dollars and take years.

It’s not clear who will oversee the review and how much impact it would have on the design.

The VTA plan would mine one of the world’s largest subway tunnels with a single-bore instead of a more conventional dual-bore design.

Critics of the single-bore tunnel say it could compromise the rider experience and lead to ballooning costs. They also say it would run deeper underground — limiting entrances to stations and requiring riders to navigate a warren of escalators to descend from the street to BART trains.

Proponents of the single-bore design say it would avoid chaos on Santa Clara Street in Downtown by minimizing surface-level disruptions, while shallower dual-bore construction would require tearing up the street. They also say switching to a dual-bore would require new environmental clearances, adding years of delays onto the project.

San Jose Mayor and VTA board member Sam Liccardo, along with VTA board chair Chappie Jones and board member Raul Peralez, called for an additional independent analysis to be conducted on the single- and dual-bore options.

The analysis, they wrote, should provide a “clear view of the trade-offs” between the two tunneling methods, including passenger safety, rider experience, cost, and construction delays.

The VTA board vote came as the six-mile, four-station BART extension through downtown San Jose faces criticism over a federal analysis that pegged the cost at $9.1 billion — almost double the original estimate.

It also followed a Bay Area News Group report of text messages from Liccardo and VTA’s Takis Salpeas, the agency’s lead on the project, that sought to withhold the federal cost figures from the public. They said secrecy was necessary at the time to prevent contractors from increasing their prices during the open-bidding process.

A Liccardo’s spokeswoman said the mayor’s call for a new review “does not constitute a ‘reversal’ because the single-bore design remains the Board-reviewed proposed project.”

In January, the VTA sought a judge’s permission to use eminent domain to acquire property for the BART extension.

[San Jose Mercury News] – Dana Bartholomew





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    1737 N. First Street (Google Maps)
    Office owner eyes 500 apartments atop parking lot in North San Jose
    Office owner eyes 500 apartments atop parking lot in North San Jose
    InterVenn Biosciences' Aldo Carrascoso and rendering of building at 499 Forbes Blvd (Woods Bagot, InterVenn Biosciences, iStock)
    Biotech startup takes entire spec development in South SF
    Biotech startup takes entire spec development in South SF
    Bicycle Hotel and Casino in Bell Gardens (TripAdvisor, iStock)
    North Bay casino specialist scores $210M to add SoCal card room, hotel
    North Bay casino specialist scores $210M to add SoCal card room, hotel
    SITE Center's David Lukes with La Fiesta Square and Lafayette Mercantile (LinkedIn, LoopNet, iStock)
    Midwest investor pays $103M for two shopping centers in Lafayette
    Midwest investor pays $103M for two shopping centers in Lafayette
    State Bar of California chairman Ruben Duran with State Bar of California headquarters, 180 Howard Street San Francisco (LinkedIn, Google Maps)
    State Bar to sell 250K sf HQ building in San Francisco
    State Bar to sell 250K sf HQ building in San Francisco
    The Arena Hotel at 817 The Alameda in San Jose (TripAdvisor)
    San Jose gets $25M to convert downtown hotel for homeless
    San Jose gets $25M to convert downtown hotel for homeless
    Dollinger Properties' Dave Dollinger and Plaza at Golden Valley mall (Crexi, Getty Images)
    Dollinger buys SoCal retail center for $54M
    Dollinger buys SoCal retail center for $54M
    Oxford Properties' Michael Turner, City Center Realty's Sigurd Anderson and Emeryville Mayor John Bauters with 5959 Shellmound Avenue (Oxford Properties, City Center Realty Partners, City of Emeryville)
    Emeryville demands $20M in lieu of homes on commercial project
    Emeryville demands $20M in lieu of homes on commercial project
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...