Assemblymember Kalra Leads Bay Area Legislators, Joins VTA and City of San Jose in Urging Single-Bore Tunneling for Silicon Valley BART Extension

Monday, March 26, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), who represents downtown San Jose, submitted a letter today to the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit’s (BART) Board of Directors expressing support for the Phase 2 of the Silicon Valley extension to be done using a single-bore tunnel design.

The letter, signed by nine other Bay Area state legislators, concurs with the preference of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and the City of San Jose, and highlights the benefits of single-bore tunneling. Single-bore tunneling provides increased operational flexibility, improved passenger experience, less disruptive construction, and most importantly, can exceed safety standards to mitigate against fire and other life-safety risks. In keeping with voter-approved Measure A, VTA has committed to delivering the full 16-mile extension of the BART line to Santa Clara County, known as VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Extension.

“While we understand that BART currently has an operational preference for twin-bore design projects, we respectfully urge you to strongly consider the added benefits of single-bore design and continue to work collaboratively with VTA on this innovative approach for building a safe and reliable BART Silicon Valley Extension,” reads the letter. “In so doing, we are hopeful that BART will approve VTA’s use of the single-bore method for Phase 2 of the Silicon Valley Extension that will prove to be a historic public transportation investment for decades to come.”

Work continues for Phase 2 of the project, which will include a 5-mile-long subway tunnel through downtown San Jose and extend the BART system from the planned Berryessa Extension terminus for approximately six miles, ending at-grade in Santa Clara near the Caltrain Station. As part of the environmental document, multiple station location options are being studied for the Downtown San Jose Station and the Diridon Station. In addition, two different tunneling construction methodologies are being studied—twin-bore tunneling and single-bore tunneling.

On April 5, 2018, the VTA Board of Directors will be asked to certify the CEQA document and approve the project, including the selection of the tunneling methodology.  The BART Board is anticipated to approve the CEQA document and confirm the tunneling methodology at a subsequent BART Board meeting.

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Assemblymember Kalra Letter to BART San Jose Phase 2 Single-bore