Peer Review Results on BART Phase II

To better inform the Board’s decision concerning the tunneling methodology for Phase II of VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Extension, VTA and BART agreed to form a peer review panel of transit operators with experience operating deep tunnel stations. The Operations Peer Review Panel was convened last week. The panel consisted of members of peer agencies with extensive experience in heavy rail operations, safety, and maintenance.

VTA and BART staff presented the relevant aspects of the twin-bore and single-bore options to the peer reviewers based on prior engineering work and more recent technical studies. The peer review panel was asked to evaluate the single-bore configuration and related technical information from the perspective of the transit operator. 
The key question posed to the panel was “can the single bore tunnel be operated safely as an extension of the BART system, and what risks and challenges are associated with the single bore configuration?” 
The Panel concluded that the single-bore option as presented could be operated. However, the Panel identified key operational considerations related to fire/life/safety that would need to be addressed in the design to better meet BART’s operating requirements. On the verge of the federal Record of Decision timing constraints and based on the available information presented, the Panel concluded that the twin-bore option would be preferred over the current design of the single bore.
Staff from both VTA and BART benefited from suggestions and recommendations by the Panel. It is VTA’s responsibility to deliver a project to the citizens of Santa Clara County that represents the best alternative in terms of safety, contractibility and operating efficiency. We certainly appreciate the preference of BART staff to operate in a manner to which they are accustomed and we are prepared to work with BART to explore these considerations.
The operations perspective of the Peer Review Panel is an important element of our decision-making process for the tunneling methodologies for Phase II of VTA’s BART Silicon Valley extension, and will inform VTA’s staff recommendation on the proposed project description for this critical and highly anticipated infrastructure project for Santa Clara County.

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