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Work on BART extension to South Bay to start this month

Groundbreaking for $36 million project scheduled for May 8

The initial phase of a project to clear a transit corridor for the future BART extension to the South Bay will begin in Milpitas this month, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority announced this week.

The Freight Railroad Relocation Project will clear railroad right-of-way, purchased from Union Pacific Railroad in 2002, between Fremont's Grimmer Boulevard and the Montague Expressway in Milpitas.

"Beginning these construction activities is an important milestone that clears the path for BART, while also making additional community improvements and safety enhancements for Milpitas residents," VTA general manager Michael Burns said in a statement.

The future transit system would be built alongside Union Pacific Railroad freight rail tracks, which the VTA plans to move to a parallel location within the eight-mile railroad section, and will also include multiple roadway intersections and eight creek crossings.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District will contribute about $16 million for the first phase of the $36 million project. The funds will go towards improvements at the creek crossings, including culverts and a seismic retrofit of the Abel Street Bridge and enhancing local flood control measures for residents and businesses.

Construction of grade separations is planned also for several intersections along the corridor to separate car and pedestrian traffic from freight add future mass transit trains.

Burns is scheduled to speak at the groundbreaking, along with Silicon Valley Leadership Group president and CEO Carl Guardino, VTA board of directors vice chair and San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo, Pete McHugh, Milpitas vice mayor, Richard Santos, Santa Clara Valley Water District board of directors.

The groundbreaking will take place on May 8 at the Lower Berryessa Creek construction site, which is located at 390 Railroad Court.

Khalida Sarwari, Bay City News

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