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SFMTA’s Central Subway will connect San Francisco’s southeast neighborhoods to downtown and Chinatown. Whether you’re a concerned citizen, business owner, Muni customer, or just stumbled onto our blog, we welcome your questions and encourage you to connect with us. Follow us for the latest Central Subway news and information.

30 April 2013 ~ 5 Comments

Photos: Installation of Mom Chung, our first tunnel boring machine

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This 123-ton ring was the first part of tunnel boring machine Mom Chung to be installed underground. Installation began late Friday night and continued through Saturday morning.

Mom Chung has arrived — all 750 tons of her — and soon she’ll start building San Francisco’s newest subway tunnel, the first constructed in the city since the 1970s.

Mom Chung is one of two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) built specially for the Central Subway Project. The massive machines consist of a rotating cutter wheel (the cutter head), a cylindrical steel shell (the shield) and a 300-foot train of tunnel-building mechanisms (the trailing gear). Starting a few weeks from now, Mom Chung will excavate and construct the tunnel for southbound trains, digging at a rate of about 40 feet per day far beneath the surface of the city. Her twin sister, Big Alma, will begin building the tunnel for northbound trains about two months later.

You can follow both machines on Twitter, at @MomChungtheTBM and @BigAlmatheTBM, for updates as they dig their way north.

On Friday, crews worked through the night to lower the first part of Mom Chung into the major excavation beneath 4th Street where tunneling will begin. The part, one of three rings that make up the shield, is 20 feet in diameter and weighs about 123 tons. Of the 750-ton TBM, this was the heaviest part, and one of the most complicated to install.

Crews will assemble Mom Chung underground over the next four to six weeks. She will then begin tunneling in June, traveling north under 4th Street and Stockton Street through SoMa, Union Square, Chinatown and North Beach. Once she starts tunneling, you won’t hear, see or feel her — she’ll be too far underground and will pass below without a trace above ground.

The photos below show the installation of the first part of Mom Chung both above and beneath 4th Street, from the middle of Friday night until well past sunrise Saturday.

If you would like to see Mom Chung in person, stop by our staging area on Bryant Street at 5th Street. Trucks will deliver pieces of her during the next few weeks. We’ll store the parts on Bryant Street before installing them underground.

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After picking the ring up, the gantry crane maneuvered it into position over the opening of the excavation. The excavation is called a launch box.

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The ring was then lowered into the launch box.

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Now halfway down, here’s a view of the ring from the ramp entering the launch box.

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Crews look on as the 123-ton TBM segment descends underground.

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The crane turned the TBM segment to rest it on a cradle. The other two shield segments and the rotating, excavating cutter head will soon join this first part.

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This is the machinery of Mom Chung — a state-of-the-art assemblage of tunnel-building motors and wires.

For more information about Mom Chung, and to see photos of her before she was disassembled for transport to San Francisco, check out our project website.

22 April 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Apple Store entrance to Powell Street Station to close for Central Subway construction

BART entrance closure

While the Stockton and Ellis entrance is closed, customers may use one of seven other entrances to access the Powell Street Station.

Starting Wednesday, April 24, the entrance to the Powell Street Station located at Stockton and Ellis streets will close to accommodate Central Subway construction. The closure of this entrance, also known as the Apple Store entrance, will be in effect for approximately five years to facilitate construction of the Central Subway tunnel and Union Square/Market Street Station.

When the Central Subway opens in 2019, this entrance will provide convenient access to the T Third Line at the future Union Square/Market Street Station. An underground concourse connection will link the Union Square/Market Street and Powell Street stations, allowing customers to transfer easily between the T Third Line and the BART and Muni Metro lines operating in the Market Street tunnel.

To facilitate access to Powell Street Station while the Apple Store entrance is closed, signage will direct customers to the nearest alternate entrance at 4th and Market streets.

We appreciate your continued patience while construction is in progress.

19 April 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Construction Update | April 20-29

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On Ellis Street, crews continue to excavate and stabilize a shaft that will be used to perform ground improvements.

During the next 10 days, construction to prepare for tunneling will continue in SoMa and Union Square, and we will perform a soil boring in North Beach. No Central Subway construction is planned to occur in Chinatown.

Descriptions of construction impacts in each neighborhood are available here or at the links below. We also post construction, traffic detour and Muni impact information on our project Google Map.

Construction impacts are planned to change at these locations by April 29:

  • Southern SoMa (Harrison to King/Berry): Starting Monday, April 20, full closure of 4th Street between Harrison and Bryant will be in effect some evenings and weekends while we install a gantry crane and lower a tunnel boring machine into the tunnel launch box. Two lanes of traffic will remain open on this block at all other times. Please contact us at central.subway@sfmta.com if you have questions about the closure schedule.
  • Northern SoMa (Market to Harrison): On 4th Street between Folsom and Harrison, all lanes are planned to reopen to traffic on Friday, April 26. On 4th Street between Market and Stevenson, the sidewalk and two traffic lanes will remain closed on the eastern side of the street. Two lanes of traffic will remain closed on 4th Street between Howard and Folsom.
  • North Beach: To facilitate a soil boring, the parking lane on Powell Street between Union and Columbus may be closed during construction hours (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) from Monday, April 22, until Wednesday, April 24.

At these locations, current construction impacts are planned to continue until April 29:

  • Union Square: Stockton Street between Geary and Ellis will remain closed to vehicle traffic. Ellis Street between Stockton and Powell will remain closed to westbound traffic.
  • Chinatown: No construction planned

We appreciate your patience and support while we build this essential upgrade to San Francisco’s public transportation system.

19 April 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Bids opened for major stations, track and systems contract (SFMTA Contract 1300)

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These renderings show the designs of the Central Subway’s three subway stations and one surface-level station.

Yesterday at the headquarters of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), bids were opened for the contract to construct the Central Subway’s stations, track and systems. The three bids for the contract, SFMTA Contract No. 1300, were submitted by the following firms:

  • Tutor Perini
  • Amoroso, FCC, Southland JV
  • Skanska, Shimmick, Stacy & Witbeck JV

The apparent lowest bidder is Tudor Perini with a bid of $840 million. Although the bids are higher than estimated, they fall within the project budget of $1.6 billion. We will work with our policy board and funding partners to move forward with this major contract.

This contract is the final construction contract for completing the Central Subway. After the contract is awarded, construction of the Central Subway’s stations, tracks and systems will commence in SoMa, Union Square and Chinatown.

We’ll keep you updated as the review process proceeds and a contractor is selected. You can view a PDF of the bids here. You may also download the full bid packages at the following links:

To view more design renderings of the Central Subway’s three subway stations and one surface-level station, check out our Flickr page.

16 April 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Central Subway awarded $142 million in federal New Starts funds

T Third at 4th and King

The T Third Line, shown here at 4th and King streets, will travel underground through SoMa, Union Square and Chinatown once the Central Subway is complete.

Last week we received great news from our funding partners in Washington, D.C. As part of the federal budget for the current fiscal year, the Central Subway was awarded about $142 million through the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program.

In total, the FTA has committed $942.2 million in New Starts funds to construct the Central Subway, which will extend the Muni Metro T Third Line through SoMa, Union Square and Chinatown. The funds are awarded annually throughout the course of the project. Due to sequestration, this year’s award is about $8 million less than President Obama recommended; however, there is no change to the FTA’s total funding commitment.

For the upcoming fiscal year, President Obama’s budget, announced last Wednesday, recommends $150 million in New Starts funds for the project (see page 67 of this document).

Federal sources are providing about half of the funding for the entire Third Street Light Rail Transit Project, which includes the existing T Third Line and the Central Subway. The remaining half is from state and local sources. For more on funding for the Central Subway Project, visit our website.

We thank our federal funding partners for their continued support for the Central Subway, an essential upgrade to San Francisco’s public transportation system.

12 April 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Construction Update | April 13-22

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Construction of underground walls is in progress on 4th Street between Howard and Folsom.

During the next 10 days, construction to prepare for tunneling will continue in SoMa and Union Square. No Central Subway construction is planned to occur in Chinatown or North Beach.

Descriptions of construction impacts in each neighborhood are available here or at the links below. We also post construction, traffic detour and Muni impact information on our project Google Map.

Construction impacts are planned to change at these locations by April 22:

  • Southern SoMa (Harrison to King/Berry): Full closure of 4th Street between Harrison and Bryant will be in effect the weekend of April 13-14. Starting Wednesday, April 17, a gantry crane will be installed over 4th Street at the southern end of the block. 4th Street will be closed at night to install the crane. At all other times, two lanes of traffic will remain open on this block.
  • Union Square: Starting Saturday, April 13, Saturday work hours at this site will be from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Stockton Street between Geary and Ellis will remain closed to vehicle traffic. Ellis Street between Stockton and Powell will remain closed to westbound traffic.

At these locations, current construction impacts are planned to continue until April 22:

  • Northern SoMa (Market to Harrison): On 4th Street between Market and Stevenson, the sidewalk and two traffic lanes will remain closed on the eastern side of the street. Two lanes of traffic will remain closed on 4th Street between Howard and Folsom. One lane will remain closed on 4th Street between Folsom and Harrison.
  • Chinatown: No construction planned
  • North Beach: No construction planned

We appreciate your patience and support while we build this essential upgrade to San Francisco’s public transportation system.

05 April 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Construction Update | April 6-15

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Beneath 4th Street, crews are pouring concrete to build the floor of the tunnel launch box between Harrison and Bryant.

During the next 10 days, construction to prepare for tunneling will continue in SoMa and Union Square. No Central Subway construction is planned to occur in Chinatown or North Beach.

Descriptions of construction impacts in each neighborhood are available here or at the links below. We also post construction, traffic detour and Muni impact information on our project Google Map.

Construction impacts are planned to change at these locations by April 15:

  • Southern SoMa (Harrison to King/Berry): Full closure of 4th Street between Harrison and Bryant will be in effect the weekend of April 13-14 to accommodate sewer work. On weekdays and on the weekend of April 6-7, two lanes of traffic will remain open on this block. Launch box construction will continue. Starting Monday, April 15, a gantry crane will be installed over 4th Street at the southern end of the block. 4th Street may be closed at night to install the crane.
  • Northern SoMa (Market to Harrison): The temporary taxi stand on 4th Street between Market and Stevenson has been removed due to safety and traffic flow concerns. On that block, the sidewalk and two traffic lanes will remain closed on the eastern side of the street. Two lanes of traffic will remain closed on 4th Street between Howard and Folsom. One lane will remain closed on 4th Street between Folsom and Harrison.
  • Union Square: Starting next Saturday, April 13, Saturday work hours at this site will be from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Stockton Street between Geary and Ellis will remain closed to vehicle traffic. Ellis Street between Stockton and Powell will remain closed to westbound traffic.

At these locations, current construction impacts are planned to continue until April 15:

We appreciate your patience and support while we build this essential upgrade to San Francisco’s public transportation system.

02 April 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Check it out: Our spring 2013 project newsletter

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The Central Subway team helped welcome the Year of the Snake at the Chinese New Year Parade & Festival in Chinatown.

Hot off the presses: It’s the spring 2013 edition of the Central Subway newsletter. Download it in English or Chinese to read about the latest project news and to gain insight into construction progress, funding milestones and more.

In addition to the print version, you can view the online version of our newsletter here.

To subscribe to receive the e-newsletter via email, fill out this form and check the “Quarterly Project Newsletter” box. You can also subscribe to our weekly construction updates and to receive neighborhood-specific project information.

This edition of the quarterly project newsletter features:

Thank you for your continued interest in the Central Subway Project.

29 March 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Construction Update | March 30-April 8

Ellis Street jet grouting shaft

On Ellis Street, crews are excavating this shaft to perform ground improvements.

During the next 10 days, construction to prepare for tunneling will continue in SoMa and Union Square. No Central Subway construction is planned to occur in Chinatown or North Beach.

Descriptions of construction impacts in each neighborhood are available here or at the links below. We also post construction, traffic detour and Muni impact information on our project Google Map.

Construction impacts are planned to change at these locations by April 8:

  • Construction impacts continuing at all sites.

At these locations, current construction impacts are planned to continue until April 8:

  • Southern SoMa (Harrison to King/Berry): On 4th Street between Harrison and Bryant, launch box construction will continue. Two lanes of traffic will remain open. The on-ramp to westbound I-80 may be closed from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. on weeknights and all day Saturday and Sunday.
  • Northern SoMa (Market to Harrison): The sidewalk and three traffic lanes will be closed on the eastern side of 4th Street between Market and Stevenson streets, with a temporary pedestrian walkway around the construction zone and a temporary taxi stand next to the pedestrian walkway. Two lanes of traffic will remain closed on 4th Street between Howard and Folsom. One lane will remain closed on 4th Street between Folsom and Harrison.
  • Union Square: Stockton Street between Geary and Ellis will remain closed to vehicle traffic. Ellis Street between Stockton and Powell will remain closed to westbound traffic.
  • Chinatown: No construction planned
  • North Beach: No construction planned

We appreciate your patience and support while we build this essential upgrade to San Francisco’s public transportation system.

22 March 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Construction Update | March 23-April 1

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At the site where tunneling will begin, crews have started to build a floor known as a mud slab on the bottom of the excavation.

During the next 10 days, construction to prepare for tunneling will continue in SoMa and Union Square. No Central Subway construction is planned to occur in Chinatown or North Beach.

Descriptions of construction impacts in each neighborhood are available here or at the links below. We also post construction, traffic detour and Muni impact information on our project Google Map.

Construction impacts are planned to change at these locations by April 1:

  • Southern SoMa (Harrison to King/Berry): Full closure of 4th Street between Harrison and Bryant may be in effect the weekend of March 30-31 to accommodate sewer work (tentative). On weekdays and on the weekend of March 23-24, two lanes of traffic will remain open on this block. Launch box construction will continue.
  • Union Square: Starting Monday, March 25, weekday construction hours will be 6 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Stockton Street between Geary and Ellis will remain closed to vehicle traffic. Ellis Street between Stockton and Powell will remain closed to westbound traffic.

At these locations, current construction impacts are planned to continue until April 1:

  • Northern SoMa (Market to Harrison): The sidewalk and three traffic lanes will be closed on 4th Street between Market and Stevenson streets, with a temporary pedestrian walkway around the construction zone and a temporary taxi stand next to the pedestrian walkway. Two lanes of traffic will remain closed on 4th Street between Howard and Folsom. One lane will remain closed on 4th Street between Folsom and Harrison.
  • Chinatown: No construction planned
  • North Beach: No construction planned

We appreciate your patience and support while we build this essential upgrade to San Francisco’s public transportation system.