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Ped Tunnel Ready for Use

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Update: We are pleased to announce that VTA's Santa Clara Pedestrian Undercrossing was listed among the winners of the Best Structures Award by the Silicon Valley Business Journal! Congratulations to all who put so much hard work and dedication into this project.

Bicyclists and pedestrians now have a new, safe and easy pathway to the other side of the tracks at the Santa Clara Caltrain station.

On Friday, June 30, VTA General Manager and CEO Nuria Fernandez, led a host of local elected leaders in revealing the newly built extension of the pedestrian tunnel.  The tunnel now connects San Jose’s Brokaw Road and Coleman Avenue area to the Caltrain/ACE/Capitol Corridor train lines in Santa Clara.

VTA broke ground on the tunnel extension last November, finishing the $12 million project on time and under budget. The new extension is about 80 feet long, and runs under three Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) tracks. In conjunction with the underpass extension, an open-air ramp of approximately 250 feet long connects Brokaw Road to the tunnel structure.

The tunnel provides easier and safer access to and from bike trails, Avaya Stadium and, eventually, newly developed commercial and retail properties along Coleman Avenue near the stadium. Long term, the tunnel will be a crucial connector for the Santa Clara BART station included in Phase II of VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Extension, forecast to be completed by 2026.

There were some significant challenges that VTA engineers and construction workers had to overcome in order to complete the project. The first of those challenges was to make sure they would not be disturbing Native American burial remains or artifacts. 


The site is considered “archeologically sensitive”, so in order to be sure no artifacts or remains would be disturbed while digging a huge hole for a tunnel, the environmental team had to do some “Swiss Cheese” investigative work first, where they dug 42 smaller holes, to check out the area and, finding nothing, they knew they could proceed with the big work.

The main part of the tunnel work involved inserting more than a dozen gigantic cement boxes into the ground, which would constitute the structure connecting to the existing tunnel. 

 

(See a time lapse video of that work here.)  This created Challenge Number Two: getting the job done with as little interruption as possible to the millions of dollars in commerce that runs along these tracks in freight trains every day. The process entailed removing train tracks, digging a giant hole, connecting the cement boxes, covering the hole, and putting the tracks back in place…all in time for the 90+ trains that come through this station to once again run seamlessly. Work time for that part of the project: 96 hours. 

The rest of the construction went smoothly, and seven months later the project is finished and ready for pedestrians and bicyclists alike. We hope you enjoy it!

Livestream of Reveal (Recording)


 

Pedestrian Undercrossing

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