The first of six scheduled weekend track shutdowns between the Orinda and Walnut Creek stations will happen this weekend (August 17-18) to allow for major track replacement work funded by voter-approved Measure RR on BART’s busiest line. Free buses provided by County Connection and AC Transit will replace trains between the Orinda, Lafayette, and Walnut Creek stations while work crews replace nearly 50-year-old track components that have outlived their useful lives. BART riders can expect delays of 40 minutes or more on track shutdown weekends.
Lane closures on eastbound highway 24
BART and Caltrans are partnering to limit impacts for drivers because of this critical system rebuilding work. The two left lanes on eastbound highway 24 near the Lafayette Station and Oak Hill Road will be closed while the track work takes place. The lanes will be closed starting at 11 pm Friday 8/16. One lane is scheduled to be reopened by 6 am on Monday 8/19 and the second lane will be reopened by 7 am. Daytime peak delays for eastbound drivers are expected to reach up to 30 minutes. If delays reach 30 minutes Caltrans will notify BART and the number of lanes closed will be reduced from two to one.
BART explored multiple alternatives but determined that closing two lanes of the highway was the only safe way to position the 265-ton crane that’s needed to perform the heavy lifting tasks required for this critical rebuilding work. The space will also be used for construction materials and other heavy equipment including a conveyor belt.
Work to improve the rider experience
BART crews will make the most of their time by working around the clock during shutdown weekends. Here are some of the highlights of what they’ll accomplish during this non-stop work:
*Replace 5,000 linear feet of rail.
*Replace six track switches. Switches are to a railroad what intersections are to cars. They are large track components that help redirect trains from line to line.
*Install 320 new electrical insulators to support and keep electricity confined to the third rail.
*Replace nearly 10,000 feet of train control cable.
*Remove and replace 2.8 million pounds of rock ballast, which is used to support the trackway.
Once the work is complete the noise level of trains will drop, and passengers will experience a smoother, safer, and more reliable ride. The Antioch-to-Millbrae line that extends through Contra Costa County into San Francisco is the busiest in the BART system. These track improvements will benefit tens of thousands of riders every day for decades to come.
Track shutdowns between the Orinda and Walnut Creek stations will happen on the following weekends: 8/17-18, 8/31-9/2 (Labor Day weekend), 9/14-15, 9/28-29, 10/12-13, and 10/26-27. Every track shutdown weekend will include free bus service provided by County Connection and AC Transit between the Orinda, Lafayette, and Walnut Creek stations.
Single tracking will take place on the following Saturdays: 8/24, 9/7, 9/21, and 10/19. Riders can expect delays of up to 30 minutes on single-tracking days. Those days will require the overnight shutdown of two eastbound lanes of highway 24 from 11 pm Friday nights to 7 am Saturday mornings as well as from 11 pm Saturday nights to 9 am Sunday mornings.