SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – While the story about contractors installing used equipment for construction of the Silicon Valley BART extension was first broken by KPIX 5 three weeks ago, not a single piece of that used equipment has been removed or replaced since the problem was discovered.
KPIX 5 first reported on how the used parts impacted Phase One of the BART extension that will connect the Warm Springs, Milpitas and Berryessa stations on September 6th.
In the three weeks since the Valley Transportation Authority announced significant delays in the South Bay BART extension that will likely push the project to the very end of 2019, none of the used equipment that is at the root of the problem has been removed or replaced.
“We don’t want to replace something until we register it with the manufacturer to make sure that it is actually new,” said VTA Director Johnny Khamis. “And we want to make sure that each part is exactly what we ordered.”
That extraordinary level of oversight comes after the VTA discovered that contractors Aldridge and Rosendin Electric — as well as their sub-contractor HSQ Technology — installed more than 1,100 used routers and switches linking the brand-new rail line’s communications, computer and security systems.
A spokesperson for the transit agency says there’s a practical reason why the work has not yet begun.
“The equipment that was installed is being left in place right now because we can still conduct testing,” said VTA spokesperson Bernice Alaniz. “So, leaving it there will enable us to move forward with some of the testing that needs to be done.”
The VTA originally hoped to begin passenger service on the long-awaited extension this summer before testing setbacks slowed them down and pushed the project into 2019. The discovery of used equipment added months more to the delays.
Right now, the Valley Transportation Authority is using the same contractors and sub-contractors responsible for the problem to correct the issues. It’s an arrangement of necessity, but one that makes members of the directors profoundly uneasy.
“I think it’s unfathomable that somebody doesn’t know how to read a contract,” said Khamis. “It’s equally difficult to believe somebody doesn’t understand the word ‘new’ on the contract. This is why we’re looking wholeheartedly into pressing charges.”
The VTA plans to have the new equipment ordered, delivered and installed by March of next year and hopes there’s no further problems on a project that has been much anticipated and much delayed.