Life

Construction of long-delayed Warm Springs BART West Access Bridge underway


FREMONT — While it’s still more than a year from completion, construction is humming along on a long-delayed pedestrian and bicycle bridge intended to connect thousands of workers and future residents of new homes in south Fremont to the Warm Springs BART station, officials said.

One set of major support columns have been completed, and another set is on the way as work on the foundation continues, according to Hans Larsen, Fremont’s public works director.

Later this year, Larsen said major portions of the bridge structure — which are being built off-site — will be incorporated.

Riders using the Warm Springs BART station should notice changes there, too, including a barricade installed next to the station agent’s booth to separate the work zone from public space, according to a city statement.

“Minor construction activities will take place on the platform and concourse levels of the station, including modifications to signage, directional tiles, guardrails, and the station’s communications systems,” the statement said.

The station will remain open during construction, but there will be “noise and dust and single-tracking of BART trains may be required” on nights and weekends, according to a BART statement.

When completed, the Warm Springs BART West Access Bridge will span the width of the Union Pacific railroad tracks adjacent to the BART station, allowing thousands of employees from the Tesla factory, as well as other area companies to walk or bike directly off a train to work.

The project is expected to add a functional flair to what officials have dubbed the “Innovation District” in the city’s south end.

Officials also hope that future residents of roughly 4,000 new homes going up in the area — more than half of them directly west of the BART station — will make use of the bridge and plaza.

“The plaza will provide a community gathering space with seating, bicycle lockers, solar charging stations, an information kiosk, and public art,” the city statement said.

The bridge, along with a public plaza at its western base, were originally scheduled to be complete by early 2019, for about $25 million. It is now expected to be completed in 2020, the city said.

As previously reported by this news organization, the project went over its original budget by nearly $10 million before shovels even hit the ground last summer, as Fremont received construction bids more than $4 million over the city engineer’s estimate in 2017.

The city faced delays during the bidding process when the two lowest bidders on the project were rejected for not making enough of an effort to employ local contractors, with one bidder appealing the decision.

The delay added to the project timeline and total cost in what Larsen called a “red-hot construction market.”

The bulk of the project is being funded by a portion of the 30-year, $8 billion Measure BB sales tax fund, passed by Alameda County voters in 2014. Alameda County Transportation Commission provided about $30 million from the sales tax funds to pay for the construction of the bridge and plaza.

The balance is being covered by Fremont’s capital improvement …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

      

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