FREMONT (CBS SF) - BART officials on Friday showed off a completed underground subway underneath a Fremont park and lake that is part of the BART Warm Springs extension project that will connect the transit system into South Fremont.
The tunnel that runs under Fremont's Lake Elizabeth was designed to preserve the park above ground while providing a path for trains to continue through to the Warm Springs/South Fremont station in Southern Fremont from the existing Fremont station.
Three years of construction and 70,000 cubic yards of concrete later, the tunnel is longer than 15 football fields and will take about 50 seconds to traverse in a train traveling around 70 mph, BART officials said.
KCBS' Mike Colgan Reports:
Nearby residents who have had to endure construction inconveniences were invited to tour the tunnel Friday morning and given a commemorative "I Walked the Warm Springs Subway" button.
"It's something that I'm not going to be able to see again in my lifetime, I'm sure," said Norma Macias, one of hundreds who took advantage of the invitation to walk the mile-long subway tunnel.
Macias told KCBS the chance to get a look at a part of BART that would normally be seen only by construction workers and maintenance crews was just irresistible.
"I've seen the construction going on, so it's been really fascinating to me to see how they do this. So when this was offered, I thought, I'm going to come and see what this was all about," she said.
City officials seized the opportunity to hype an example of smart growth that lets people live near their jobs. Fremont City Manager Fred Diaz said Warm Springs Station will eventually be ringed by both offices and residential buildings.
"You will see upscale office, much the same presence, we hope, that North San Jose has and that Santa Clara has. You will also see a large component of high-density housing," he said.
The extension project, which consists of 5.4 miles of track, is expected to open by 2015.
The Warm Springs Extension is an $890 million project and is expected to be completed on budget, according to BART officials.
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