SAN JOSE — Safety workers from the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority knocked on doors Friday along the 10-mile BART extension from Fremont to San Jose to warn residents that the tracks are now fully energized and can be lethal if touched.
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* VTA, which is constructing the BART extension from the Warm Springs station in Fremont to a new Berryessa station in North San Jose, said activating the electrical rail along the entire extension this weekend is being done to test the track.
The testing marks a major milestone for the estimated $2.3 billion BART extension from Fremont into Santa Clara County that will include new stations in Milpitas near the Great Mall and North San Jose next to the Flea Market, VTA spokeswoman Stacey Hendler Ross said. The Warm Springs station in South Fremont opened on March 25th.
Although transit officials still have several months of testing, they remain on schedule to begin passenger service to both stations by the end of 2017, Hendler Ross said. Each station will have 1,200 parking spaces.
The testing began last fall, though only certain parts of the track were electrified as the testing was intermittent.
Now, people should consider the 10-mile stretch to be flowing with 1,000 volts of electric current at all times. Exposure to 42 volts of direct current can be lethal, according to VTA.
The BART extension is the only ground-level electrified tracks in Santa Clara County, Hendler Ross said. In Santa Clara County, the tracks run parallel to, and in between, Highways 680 and 880 from Warm Springs in Fremont through Milpitas to Berryessa in North San Jose. The stretch of tracks is guarded by “very high fences” and warning signs for people to stay out of the area.
“You can’t see the current, you can’t smell the current, but if you touch the current, it will be too late,” John Engstrom, VTA’s BART Project Manager, said in a statement. “Now that we are in the system testing phase, the site becomes extremely dangerous. Every person in the public needs to understand that the BART right of way is not a shortcut, it is not accessible for a reason – for people’s protection.”
Hendler Ross said VTA sent mailers warning about the electrified tracks in September to residents, businesses and schools. Friday, about a dozen VTA workers were going door-to-door to pass along the safety message. VTA officials also reached out to the homeless population through shelters, Hendler Ross said.
“We don’t want to take any chances,” Hendler Ross said. “We don’t want people going anywhere near those tracks.”
Flynn’s thoughts: Well, it’s located 1.5 miles from my home. If I get a job up in San Francisco, CA, I’ll be riding the BART! I still have a balance on my Clipper.com and I’ve wanna use my EZRider hangtag, too! Hurry! I need a job! MAGA, now!