Milpitas BART tracks toward June 2018 debut

The Milpitas BART station is on track for its originally scheduled June 2018 opening, according to Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority officials who hosted a tour of the still in-construction facility Tuesday.

VTA officials said for most of the five years of construction, the project trended six months ahead of schedule. The agency confirmed today that completion would be closer to the June 2018 target.

VTA officials said in a statement:

“Once our project began the process of tying into BART’s Warm Springs Extension and system testing started, progress became more dependent on the completion of thousands of tests that must be performed by VTA, VTA’s contractor and BART.”

The facility, part of a 10-mile first phase of an extension of BART into Silicon Valley, will feature a connection to VTA light rail and bus service.

VTA BART Project Manager John Engstrom said the facility is still in the first of six stages before completion. That stage is currently the construction phase, one of three that the VTA will manage. The VTA will manage the first three phases before handing over management of the project to BART.

A VTA spokesperson said the agency’s new orange line will make a direct connection to Mountain View and Caltrain. The route will give Milpitas residents a somewhat direct public transportation route to San Francisco.

The six-story, 1,200-space VTA-managed parking garage will have paid parking through a license plate reader or input system. It will be the first parking system of its kind in the VTA system, according to Engstrom.

There are also 300 parking spaces outside of the station.

The tour of the station also showed off an entrance surrounded with regular and stained glass windows. Both of the ground-level entrances to the station are open air, and passengers can look through a window to see the trains and tracks after they pass through the turnstiles.

The BART tracks enter and exit the station through a concrete trench. A walkway connects the BART station to the VTA platform and runs southwest. Buses will stop to the west of the station and the “kiss-and-ride” drop-off location will be to the east next to the parking garage.

After the station construction is complete, the project will move into the static and dynamic testing phases. The tracks, signals and communications on the line will all be tested to make sure they work properly. The dynamic testing will then feature moving trains on the 10-mile extension.

BART will take over the transition when the 10-mile extension is ready to be integrated to the rest of the BART system. It will then be presented for safety certification to the California Public Utilities Commission. Once that is approved, passenger service can start, according to VTA officials.