The construction team rebuilding a large section of trackway near the Lafayette Station is ahead of schedule and that is allowing BART to lessen the public impact of remaining track work. Workers have been active around-the-clock during two previous shutdown weekends to replace nearly 50-year-old track components that have outlived their useful lives.
Thanks to the progress on the trackway replacement project the following changes are being made to the construction schedule:
*The planned track shutdown for the weekend of September 14-15 is being changed from a full closure between Orinda and Walnut Creek to a single-tracking weekend. That will eliminate the need for a bus bridge and reduce the delays faced by BART riders. BART riders should still plan for delays of up to 30 minutes in that area as trains will only be operating on a single track. The plan to temporarily close the two left eastbound lanes of Highway 24 at Oak Hill Road in Lafayette remains in place. BART will continue to partner with Caltrans to limit traffic delays by reducing the number of lanes closed on eastbound 24 from two to one if backups approach 30 minutes.
*The single-tracking and overnight Highway 24 lane closures planned for Saturday, September 21 have been canceled. That means there will be normal BART service and Highway 24 access for the Lafayette Art and Wine Festival.
*The track shutdown and Highway 24 lane closures for the weekend of October 12-13 have been cancelled. This will allow BART to offer regular service that weekend for Fleet Week.
The changes mean the remaining track shutdown weekends scheduled for the rebuilding project are September 28-29 and October 26-27. On those two remaining weekends, free buses will replace trains between the Orinda and Walnut Creek stations. Riders should expect delays of 40 minutes or more. Also, the two left lanes of eastbound Highway 24 at Oak Hill Road are expected to be closed through those weekends to allow space for construction equipment. Caltrans and BART will monitor backups in real time and will work together to reduce the number of lanes closed from two to one if driving delays approach 30 minutes.
Single tracking will occur on the weekend of September 14-15 and Saturday, October 19. BART riders should expect delays of up to 30 minutes between Orinda and Walnut Creek on those days since service will operate on only one track. The two left eastbound lanes of Highway 24 will be closed during overnight hours on the weekend of October 19. Those closures will be from 11 pm Friday, October 18 – 7 am Saturday, October 19 and from 11 pm Saturday, October 19 – 9 am Sunday, October 20. The weekend of September 14-15 is expected to include the daytime eastbound Highway 24 lane closures described in the first bullet point.
The work team has been making the most of their time in the trackway. Here are some examples of the progress made so far:
*Replaced three of six track switches. These are large track components that can measure up to 200 feet in length and are instrumental in allowing BART trains to move from line to line.
*Installed 2,500 feet of 5,000 feet of new rail.
*Halfway done with removing and replacing about 2.8 million pounds of rock ballast, which is essential for stabilizing the rail.
Additionally, workers are in the process of replacing 10,000 feet of train control cable, 3,200 feet of third rail, 320 electrical insulators, and 300 feet of traction power cable. Workers are also using the time to replace platform tiles at the Lafayette Station.
Once the work is complete the noise level of trains will decrease, and passengers will experience a smoother, safer, and more reliable ride. The Antioch-to-Millbrae line that extends through Contra Costa County into San Francisco is the busiest in the BART system. These track improvements will benefit tens of thousands of riders every day for decades to come.
RR at work
BART District voters prioritized rebuilding BART when they approved Measure RR in 2016. The measure provides $3.5 billion in bonds to replace outdated infrastructure across the BART system.
RR-funded projects like this one are having a real impact on the daily riding experience. BART has already successfully completed track rebuilding projects between the Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre and Concord stations as well as between the West Oakland and 12th Street/Oakland City Center stations. Replacing aging track equipment that in some cases dates back to the beginning of service in 1972 is one reason BART’s on-time reliability rate has reached 92%.