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Independent Study Approves VTA Plans for a Single Bore Tunnel

VTA Single Bore Center Platform

An independent study by world-renowned tunneling experts approves that VTA’s (the Valley Transportation Authority) single-bore tunnel design is the proper approach to deliver the BART Silicon Valley 6-mile extension into San Jose and Santa Clara.

VTA’s General Manager and CEO, Carolyn Gonot stated: “We are pleased that our design and engineering plans have received this important review and endorsement. This confirmation fuels us to push ahead with the most important transportation project in our region, bringing BART around the bay through Silicon Valley.”

The American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) independent peer review results were presented at the VTA Board Meeting on November 3. It showed that VTA’s cutting-edge tunneling methodology with some of the submitted design innovations is considered feasible, appropriate, safe, and efficient.

Single-bore tunnels are progressively being used for transit projects in Europe and Asia, with recent projects in Spain, France, Dubai, and the Netherlands.

This single-bore method by VTA to construct the crucial BART extension will cut construction time, decrease the station footprint and property needs, boost the potential for transit-oriented development, and downsize disruption to city streets, neighbourhoods, and businesses. The technique diminishes many of the environmental impacts emerging during building. In addition to losing the previously mentioned benefits, changing to a twin-bore tunnel project would induce significant schedule delays and cost expansions.

The study comprised a trade-off review between the single-bore and twin-bore designs associated with safety, passenger experience, cost, and schedule. It was reported by vast project documents and past studies, recent global tunneling projects, and an essential proposed innovation from Kiewit Shea Traylor, the JV contractor for the tunnel and track work.

This peer review provided VTA with expert advice, assurance of industry best practices, and a proposal from highly skilled and respected transit professionals.

APTA was committed to coordinating an independent review of the project’s tunneling approach as part of a design review request from VTA Board member and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, confirmed in May by the VTA Board of Directors. The discoveries of an earlier independent comparative analysis of both tunneling methods in 2017 helped lead to the single-bore technique and current concept. 

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