VTA drops plan for massive S.J. BART tunnel

By Nico Savidge, The Mercury News, April 19, 2020

“The Valley Transportation Authority is again changing its plans for the multimillion-dollar project to bring BART through downtown San Jose, dropping a proposal to bore the world’s largest subway tunnel for nearly five miles beneath the city and reopening the process for designing an extension that already is severely delayed.

“What remains unclear is how much this redesigned version of the project will cost, or when BART trains will finally roll into the center of the Bay Area’s largest city.

Critics had raised questions about VTA’s ability to pull off audacious plans to bore a 55-foot-wide tunnel under downtown San Jose, particularly as the agency is nearly two years late delivering the far more conventional stations in Milpitas and Berryessa.

“The tunnel design that the agency’s staff spent a year pursuing is about $4 billion more expensive than initially believed and substantially riskier than other designs, General Manager Nuria Fernandez told the agency’s board.

“The agency’s planners won’t be starting from square one with the new designs. They will work within a design framework that already has gotten environmental clearance and will keep the extension’s route.”

Read the article here. (4 min.)