After much hoopla and delay, the president of the BART board has promised that two new South Bay BART stations are almost definitely going to open by December 31st.
As reported by SFist earlier in June, the two-phase BART project to build an extension into San Jose has been a long time coming, and the two new stations in Milpitas and Berryessa are complete and have been in the testing phase for two months. Now we have a bit more insight into the project, coming tests, and final opening date.
Phase I of the project will bring with it a 10-mile Berryessa extension to help serve a wider swath of Silicon Valley BART patrons; it, will connect BART from the Warm Spring station in Fremont — which itself came online after a slew of delays in 2016— to two new stations, one near the Great Mall in Milpitas and the other nestled in the Berryessa neighborhood of northern San Jose.
As of now, the stations remain closed until testing of the “very sophisticated” train control system and tracking is complete. And, of course, there are already some technical issues surrounding the build. We’re in the Bay Area, after all — construction never, ever sticks to plan.
"[The] very sophisticated train control [system], everything is interlocking. Everything has to talk to itself. So the commissioning part of a metro like this really the most technically difficult," says Jorge Martinez, Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) project manager for Phase I to ABC7.
The BART-official handoff? Well, that could be a few (more) months down the road, according do BART Board President Deven Dufty
"In the next three to four months, we are going to be transferring responsibility to BART [from the VTA]," says Dufty, explaining that they still need to work through the last batch of issues beforehand, cementing the fact that they're still "on track" for a December 31st running date.
"For example, our train control system serves the entire BART system, but a percentage of those rides are taking place in Santa Clara, so we are working through the reimbursements," adds Dufty. “Those items have stalled talks between BART and the VTA in the past...and there could be further delays if there is no agreement.”
Phase II of the South Bay BART extension — which will include four stations and more than 6 miles of track, stopping at Alum Rock, in downtown San Jose, Santa Clara’s Diridon intermodal transit area, and Santa Clara — is expected to be up and running by 2026. But some tunnels need to be dug, and don’t hold your breath.