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BART Extension To South Bay Back on Track After Delays

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – The much-delayed South Bay BART extension may finally be getting back on track. The extension is now scheduled to open in the fall of this year.

"The staff, they felt almost ashamed that this happened on their watch. They tried to make sure that they lost as little time as possible," said San Jose City Councilman Johnny Khamis. "I commend them for their efforts to get this thing turned around as fast as they did."

KPIX 5 News was the first to uncover serious construction-related issues that threatened to delay the opening of the new rail line by almost a year. According to the Valley Transportation Authority, a subcontractor installed more than 1,000 pieces of used equipment on the communications and security backbone of the brand-new transit system.

A spokesperson for VTA said all of the used equipment was removed, replaced and tested ahead of schedule by the end of December.

The VTA is planning to start initial testing Monday on the final leg of the extension that will carry BART into the heart of downtown San Jose and ultimately to Santa Clara.

"We're excited about it. If that construction brings us more customers and more customers to downtown San Jose that would be great for me and for our business," said business owner Kenny Quiterio.

Because the BART stations in downtown San Jose will be underground, construction crews are planning to drill 150 feet below the street to collect soil samples. That information will help them design and build the underground rail line.

VTA says they plan to complete construction and testing of the Milpitas and Berryessa BART station by the end of March. At that point,
BART will take control of the system and conduct an additional six months of testing.

Completion of the BART extension to Downtown San Jose is not expected until at least 2026.

Meanwhile, the first phase of the extension stretching from the Warm Springs station in Fremont to the Berryessa station in East San Jose is expected to open sometime in 2019, according to the VTA.

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