BART plans track work for slow Labor Day weekend

Passengers who take BART to or from the East Bay this Labor Day weekend should give themselves plenty of extra travel time, because BART is closing the trackway between Fruitvale and the 19th Street/Oakland and between the West Oakland and Fruitvale stations for track maintenance work.

The closure of the stations will mostly affect passengers on the Warm Springs/South Fremont and Dublin/Pleasanton lines, and passengers heading to the Oakland International Airport.

Passengers on those lines heading north to any stops along the Richmond or Pittsburg/Bay Point lines, will need to catch a shuttle bus at the Fruitvale Station which will drop passengers off at the 19th Street/Oakland Station where passengers can resume riding on BART.

Anyone heading to the Oakland airport will also need to take a shuttle bus from the 19th Street/Oakland Station.

Paul Oversier, assistant general manager in charge of BART operations, said the transit agency will run a “very high-frequency” of AC Transit shuttle buses between the Fruitvale and 19th Street/Oakland BART stations. The shuttle buses will be free.

Passengers coming from the Peninsula, San Francisco, Richmond or Pittsburg lines heading southbound, will also need to take the AC Transit shuttle buses, said Oversier.

Oversier also warned BART passengers give themselves approximately 20 to 40 minutes of travel time during the shutdown, especially passengers heading to the Oakland airport.

The Lake Merritt Station will not be open as well during the three-day holiday weekend. Passengers with a BART ticket can take the AC transit 18 route to downtown Oakland or the 1 route to Fruitvale for free.

BART crews plan to replace aging rail tracks and work on replacing electrical parts on the third rail from Lake Merritt to downtown Oakland.

Some of the work crews plan to do include installing 3,100 feet of welded rail, replacing 1,000 of restraining rail, which is an inter guard rail that keeps trains on the track on high-degree curves, said Shane Edwards, assistant chief mechanical and engineering officer for BART.

Also, crews will replace 150 electrical insulators that support the third rail, replacing 1,000 direct fixation pads which help keep the rail tracks in place, installing 3,000 feet of conduit and installing new wayfinding signage in the Lake Merritt Station.

BART spokesperson Jim Alison said:

“This is all a balancing act in terms of minimizing the impact to customers, but also maximizing the amount of work we can get done in a very short period of time.”

Alison said traditionally, the Labor Day weekend was one of the least-traveled weekends on the transit system, though there is an A’s game on Monday.

Funding for the maintenance work is from Measure RR, which voters in three Bay Area counties approved last November.

Over the next two years, BART plans do more infrastructure work to the transit system, including adding new power substations in San Leandro and Oakland, replacing more rail tracks and rebuilding interlocking’s in Oakland, Concord, Lafayette and Richmond.

The transit agency also plans to install a high-capacity, BART-only elevator at the Embarcadero Station.