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The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) has awarded a $16.8 million construction contract for continued improvements along the Capitol Expressway and a future rapid transit and light-rail corridor.The Capitol Expressway project is designed to create a multi-modal boulevard offering light rail, bus-rapid transit and safe pathways with connections to the regional transit system, VTA officials said in a press release.The contract, which VTA's board approved last week, was awarded to Granite Rock Co., doing business as Pavex Construction Division.As part of the construction work to begin this summer, VTA will reconstruct the Eastridge Transit Center to improve access to existing bus service and prepare the corridor for future service upgrades."The Eastridge Transit Center will support VTA's future bus rapid transit system and eventually light rail — two transit options that will be crucial in battling ever-increasing gas prices and increased roadway congestion," said Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese.The Capitol Expressway's final phase includes plans to extend light rail from the existing Alum Rock Station to the Eastridge Transit Center. Light rail will operate primarily in the center of Capitol Expressway with elevated track structures crossing Capitol Avenue, Story Road and Tully Road.The Eastridge extension will include three stations: Story Road, Ocala Avenue and Eastridge.VTA officials estimate the total cost of extending light rail from the Alum Rock Transit Center to Eastridge at $310 million.