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BART to earthquake-proof underwater tube


California’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission recently announced it will allocate $11 million from toll bridge revenue during the next two years to help Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) strengthen the 3.6-mile underwater Transbay Tube to withstand a massive earthquake.

Last week, BART awarded a $330 million contract to begin upgrading the tube. The agency expects to generate $143 million toward the tube’s construction during the next 10 years from a recent bay bridge toll hike, according to BART. The remainder of the project could be funded through a planned $980 million earthquake safety bond measure on the November ballot. The measure also would help fund BART’s $1.3 billion Earthquake Safety Program.

A recent survey determined that the tube, as well as many BART stations and elevated tracks, would be damaged during a powerful earthquake, which could shut down the agency’s system for more than two years.

There is a 70 percent chance that at least one earthquake ranking 6.7 or higher on the Richter Scale will hit the bay area before 2030, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/3/2004