SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Officials in the South Bay on Thursday said residents could be facing a major delay for the construction of BART’s extension to San Jose.
The delay affects phase one of the South Bay extension that will connect three stations: Warm Springs, Milpitas and Berryessa.
KPIX 5 news has learned that the long-awaited South Bay BART extension is facing another delay that could add months if not more than a year to construction and testing, pushing the project deep into 2019 and possibly beyond.
“Working with one of our contractors, they included equipment that was not compliant,” said VTA Board member Cindy Chavez. “We have to return that equipment, we have to install compliant equipment and then we have to test it.”
Chavez is waiting to hear details about what went wrong at the VTA board’s meeting Thursday evening.
It’s a dramatic reversal of fortunes for a project that was initially on budget and ahead of schedule with major construction of the tracks and two brand-new train stations projected to be finished by the end of 2016.
KPIX 5 cameras were there when the very first trains were being tested in October of last year. At the time, service was supposed to begin this summer.
Then word surfaced of a six-month delay prior to this latest issue with the contractor.
“I know the anticipation that people in our community feel to get off of these busy freeways and get on these BART trains. But we really need to make sure it’s safe. And that’s why we’re being cautious,” said Chavez.
What is not clear is how out-of-compliance equipment was ever installed on a project of this importance and scale receiving this amount of scrutiny.
“We discovered a subcontractor that was using used parts where they should have been using new parts. We know our taxpayers and our riders deserve new parts, so we’re telling them to go back and do it right,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.
This summer, the VTA announced that there was a possibility the project could be delayed until the spring or perhaps even the fall of next year, but that was before the discovery of the used parts that were used in the construction of the extended transit line.