More than 400 local residents, elected officials and regional transportation leaders toured the recently completed underground subway portion of the BART Warm Springs extension project during a milestone celebration event today at Fremont’s Central Park. The subway tunnel, which runs under Lake Elizabeth, was designed to preserve the integrity of the park, leaving the local gem whole and uninterrupted once construction is complete.
The tunnel, which runs longer than 15 football fields and required 70,000 cubic yards of poured reinforced concrete, took three years to complete. Once in operation, it will take BART trains, travelling an average speed of just under 70 mph, about 50 seconds to travel the new subway and come out the other side.
“The tunnel is truly awe inspiring and it was a privilege to show it off to the community and provide an up-close look at how their tax dollars are being spent,” said BART Director Tom Blalock, who has spearheaded this project.
This milestone helps paves the way toward a grand opening of the new Warm Springs/South Fremont station in late 2015. The Warm Springs Extension will add 5.4 miles of new tracks from the existing Fremont Station south to a new station in the Warm Springs District of the City of Fremont. The extension project, which is currently on-time and on-budget, is the first step toward seamlessly connecting BART passengers to Silicon Valley.
Neighbors to the area, who have graciously endured the inconveniences of the construction, were invited to join elected officials and community leaders on a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the underground tunnel. Participants were given a commemorative “I walked the Warm Springs Subway” button.
Director Blalock thanked all of BART’s partners who have been working together for more than 20 years to make the project a reality, “This has been a journey of collaboration and willingness to seek creative ways to bridge our differences,” Director Blalock said. “From hand carrying fish and turtles into a safe place while the lake was drained, to building a new dog park and basketball court for the community, this project has truly been a community partnership.”