Pittsburg/Bay Point station, the current eastern terminus in Contra Costa County. Photo credit:
Back in October two major construction projects broke ground– State Route 4 widening and the eBART extension to eastern Contra Costa County. Because eBART will operate down the median of State Route 4, the two projects are being implemented in tandem with construction projected to be completed in Fall 2016. Let’s take a closer look at the projects.
Firstly, despite any present delays, it should be acknowledged these projects come at a crucial time. Eastern Contra Costa County’s rapid growth in the past two decades has resulted in one of the slowest commutes in the region.
That’s why these projects are so important. Once completed, the 10-mile eBART extension into Antioch is projected to remove 4,000 cars off the road per day (the equivalent of one freeway lane). Meanwhile, the widening of State Route 4 will feature carpool lanes and auxiliary lanes between on/off-ramps to encourage more efficient traffic movement.
A rendition of eBART– what a sleek looking train! Image via: BART
This new eBART extension will represent a first for Bay Area Rapid Transit– the introduction of eBART, a smaller model train than the ones we’re used to seeing. This extension will operate with what are known as DMU (diesel multiple-unit) trains, already widely used in Europe. The DMU model train was selected to bring quality rail service to East Contra Costa County at a lower cost than conventional BART. In fact, the $462 million eBART project is 60% less expensive than conventional BART.
The only catch is that DMU trains have a lower carrying capacity than conventional BART trains and will require riders transfer at the Pittsburg/Bay Point station to continue west into the Bay Area. However, being able to whisk riders to the Pittsburg/Bay Point station in an estimated 10-minutes, a transfer doesn’t seem that bad, especially during rush hour.
It’s been 40 years since BART first transformed rapid transit in the region and with continued innovation the region can look forward to greater mobility options.
For additional details, be sure to check out the video below or head over to BART.