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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.

27 June 2012 ~ 3 Comments

California Transportation Commission unanimously approves commitment of state bond funds for Central Subway

The Central Subway will tie directly into the proposed future high-speed rail service at the 4th and King street Caltrain station. (Photo credit: Bill Lim, Flickr)

Today at their meeting in Ontario, Calif., the California Transportation Commission unanimously approved a commitment of $61.3 million in state high-speed rail connectivity funds to the Central Subway Project, reaffirming the Central Subway’s key role in enhancing California’s regional transportation network.

The Central Subway, which will extend the Muni Metro T Third Line from the Caltrain station at 4th and King streets through SoMa, Union Square and Chinatown, will offer direct and proximate access to the proposed blended high-speed rail system at 4th and King streets. The Central Subway ties directly into the future high-speed rail service at 4th and King station, and it will also be just three blocks from the Transbay Transit Center, the planned terminus for high-speed rail. When the Central Subway is completed, it will provide significant light rail connectivity for high-speed rail and Transbay Transit Center patrons, enabling travel throughout San Francisco.

We thank our state funding partners for their consistent and strong support as we work to improve San Francisco’s public transportation system and enhance our regional transit network,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “By providing a convenient transfer to California’s high-speed rail service, the Central Subway will be a key component in improving mobility, reducing emissions and better connecting our city.

The connectivity funding comes from the state High Speed Rail Train Bond Program, approved by voters as Proposition 1A in 2008. The program will invest $950 million in capital improvements to eligible rail lines around the state.

For more on today’s California Transportation Commission vote, check out this press release from the SFMTA.

27 June 2012 ~ 1 Comment

Launch box construction proceeds in SoMa with cranes and specialized excavators now in operation

This video shows the work currently underway on 4th Street between Bryant and Harrison streets in SoMa. The full HD video can be downloaded here.

It may look like a lot of dirt and mud right now, but in just a few years, what you see in the video above will become the Central Subway – a major upgrade to San Francisco’s public transportation system that will significantly improve mobility for thousands of San Franciscans.

The exciting first chapter of constructing the Central Subway tunnel is progressing in SoMa, with construction of a major excavation known as a launch box underway on 4th Street between Bryant and Harrison streets. At nearly 500 feet long, 50 feet wide and up to 40 feet deep, the launch box will take up most of the block.

Currently, tunneling contractor Barnard Impregilo Healy Joint Venture is using cranes and specialized excavators, including a 10-foot-tall, 15-ton, claw-like hydraulic excavator known as a “grab,” to dig a series of deep, narrow holes around the perimeter of the launch box. The holes, ranging in depth from 60 to 80 feet, are stabilized using a mud-like slurry and then backfilled with concrete to form panels. The panels will make up the walls of the tunnel launch box.

The 10-foot-tall, 15-ton “grab” shown here is digging a series of deep, narrow holes around the perimeter of the launch box. The holes are stabilized using a mud-like slurry and then backfilled with concrete to form panels, forming the walls of the tunnel launch box.

Next year two tunnel boring machines will start digging the Central Subway tunnels from the launch box, traveling north under 4th Street and then Stockton Street. The launch box will eventually become the portal where T Third Line trains will enter and exit the Central Subway tunnel, quickly transporting transit customers through SoMa, Union Square and Chinatown.

Here are a few more photos of the work currently underway to construct the Central Subway tunnel:

After using the grab to remove earth from the ground, the crane operator deposits it nearby. Later, the excavated materials will be transported off-site.

This large crane is used to excavate areas that are not beneath the I-80 overpass. A smaller crane (shown in the top photo) is used beneath the I-80 overpass.

These I-beams will be used to stabilize the walls around the launch box.

21 June 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Traffic Alert: Nighttime closure of westbound I-80 onramp at 4th and Harrison starting Monday, June 25


Motorists traveling south on 4th Street will be directed to access westbound I-80 as shown above while the onramp at 4th and Harrison streets is closed. (Click on the map to enlarge.)

Starting next Monday, June 25, the onramp to westbound I-80 at 4th and Harrison streets will be closed between the hours of 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. This nighttime closure may continue for up to a week to allow for tunnel-related construction.

While the closure is in effect, motorists are encouraged to use the onramp at Harrison and 7th streets as an alternative to access westbound I-80. Variable message signs will be in place on 4th Street and on Harrison Street to direct traffic.

For more information about Central Subway traffic impacts, check out our most recent three-week construction overview.

15 June 2012 ~ 8 Comments

Construction Update: Launch box and headwall construction proceeding in SoMa, road restoration progressing in Union Square

Construction at the site of the tunnel launch box, shown here, ramped up this week. 

Construction to prepare for the Central Subway tunnel ramped up this week, and the new sidewalks on the west side of Stockton Street are almost completely restored. Here’s what to expect in the next three weeks as tunnel preparation continues and the Union Square utility relocation nears completion:

  • Tunnel Launch Box (4th Street between Bryant and Harrison streets): Next week, heavy construction equipment is planned to arrive at the site of the tunnel launch box, and the contractor expects to begin constructing below-ground walls around the perimeter of this major excavation site. At nearly 500 feet long, 50 feet wide and up to 40 feet deep, the launch box will take up most of the block. Next year two tunnel boring machines will start digging the Central Subway tunnels from the launch box, traveling north under 4th Street and then Stockton Street. Work hours at this site are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. At least two lanes of traffic will remain open at all times.
  • Yerba Buena/Moscone Station Headwalls (4th Street between Folsom and Howard streets):  The tunneling contractor is installing below-ground walls, called headwalls, at the site of the future Yerba Buena/Moscone Station. The walls will cross 4th Street at two points on this block. To prepare to install the headwalls, utility relocation and guide wall construction will be underway. Work hours at this site are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. At least two lanes of traffic will remain open at all times. For more information on traffic, pedestrian and Muni impacts at this site, check out this recent blog post.
  • Union Square Utility Relocation (on and around Stockton Street between Market and Post streets): With sidewalks being restored along Stockton Street and road restoration underway, utility relocation at the site of the future Union Square/Market Street Station is nearing completion. Work is scheduled seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., although night work may be necessary.

Complete, current three-week construction schedules are available online for Union Square utility relocation work and for the tunnel contract. We also post construction, auto detour and Muni impact information on our project Google Map.

Muni Service Impacts

Current Muni service impacts are described below. As construction begins at additional locations, additional Muni routes may be impacted.

  • The 30 Stockton and 45 Union/Stockton began re-routing in January around major construction sites in Union Square and SoMa. These reroutes will continue throughout the duration of Central Subway construction.
  • The 38/38L Geary and the 8X/8AX/8BX Bayshore Express may experience delays.

Traffic and Pedestrian Impacts

SoMa:

  • At both currently active construction sites, at least two lanes on 4th Street will be open to traffic at all times.
  • All I-80 on- and off-ramps will remain open during the day, but brief nighttime ramp closures may be required.
  • Traffic delays are anticipated. Motorists are encouraged to use the onramp at Harrison and 7th streets as an alternative to access westbound I-80 while launch box construction is in progress. Those traveling to the peninsula may prefer to access the I-280 via 6th Street or Highway 101 via 10th Street.
  • Access to Clementina Street between 4th and 5th streets may be restricted at times, but the contractor will facilitate access for deliveries.
  • Sidewalks may be impacted.
  • Electronic messaging boards will be in place and parking control officers and flaggers will monitor and facilitate the flow of traffic as appropriate.

Union Square:

  • Currently, traffic on Stockton Street between Market and Post streets is limited to Muni buses, taxis, tour buses, emergency vehicles and delivery trucks only.
  • Two traffic detour options are in place to allow for better access to the Union Square area and to aid the flow of traffic:

trafficreroutemap

We appreciate your continued patience while construction is in progress.

15 June 2012 ~ 0 Comments

SF Examiner on the Central Subway Project: It’s time to get onboard

The Central Subway will extend Muni’s T Third Line through central San Francisco.

In today’s San Francisco Examiner, the editorial board strongly endorses the Central Subway project, saying the extension of the T Third Line through SoMa, Union Square and Chinatown “will be a major asset to San Francisco”:

“It is time for everyone to get onboard with the Central Subway project — the largest Muni project in recent years.”

The editorial board writes that the 1.7-mile Central Subway will enhance the city’s transportation network by connecting SoMa and Chinatown – “one of the fastest-growing sections of The City with one of the densest neighborhoods in the nation” – while extending the T Third Line, “a 5.1-mile light-rail line that has done much good by connecting downtown with the southeastern neighborhoods of The City.”

The T Third Line is projected to become Muni’s most heavily used line soon after the completion of the Central Subway. It will connect transit customers with vibrant neighborhoods, crucial job centers, premier commercial districts and world-renowned tourist destinations, making it a worthy and needed investment in public transportation in San Francisco.

Read the entire editorial at sfexaminer.com.

12 June 2012 ~ 2 Comments

Bids opened for Chinatown Station contract

Bids for the contract to construct the Chinatown Station, depicted here, were opened today.

Today at the headquarters of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), bids were opened for the contract to construct the Central Subway’s Chinatown Station. The four bids for the contract were submitted by the following firms:

  • Frontier-Kemper/Tutor-Saliba Joint Venture – $239,420,700
  • Barnard Impregilo Healy Joint Venture – $397,854,350
  • SJ Amoroso/FCC/Southland Joint Venture – $269,997,000
  • Shimmick/Judlau Joint Venture – $290,654,375

The bids will now be reviewed to ensure they comply with all applicable requirements. We’ll keep you updated as the bidding process proceeds and a contractor is selected to construct this beautiful, conveniently located station.

11 June 2012 ~ 2 Comments

Starting in SoMa: On 4th Street between Folsom and Howard, construction to prepare for tunneling

Construction on 4th at Folsom, June 2012

Construction is now underway on 4th Street near the intersection with Folsom Street.

Construction to prepare for the installation of below-ground walls, called headwalls, has begun on 4th Street between Folsom and Howard streets, the site of the future Yerba Buena/Moscone Station. The work currently underway includes potholing and utility relocation. Headwall installation, which involves major excavation work and will require the use of heavy machinery, will soon follow.

The headwalls will be constructed across 4th Street and reach a depth of about 100 feet. Permanent components of the Central Subway, the headwalls will be integrated into the subway station that will be constructed at this location.

Headwall outline - 4th and Folsom

White spray paint outlines the location on 4th Street just north of Folsom Street where headwalls will be installed.

Headwall construction is expected to last through spring 2013. While construction is in progress, those traveling, working and living in the area can expect to see large construction equipment as well as an increase in noise, dust and truck traffic while work is in progress. The Central Subway team will continue to work closely with communities, local businesses and organizations to inform them of construction impacts and to ensure appropriate mitigation measures are in place.

To mitigate construction impacts, dust and noise levels will be monitored and kept within permitted levels, and the contractor will perform street sweeping daily to clean the construction site and surrounding areas.

Access to local businesses, residences and driveways will be maintained.

Transit, Traffic and Pedestrian Impacts

The following describes ongoing and upcoming traffic and transit impacts at the headwall installation site on 4th Street between Folsom and Howard streets:

  • The 8X/8AX/8BX Bayshore Express and 91 Owl will be rerouted in July, and the temporary 8 Shuttle route will be eliminated. Additional information will be available soon online and in media alerts.
  • At least two lanes on 4th Street will remain open to traffic while work is in progress.
  • Sidewalks on the west side of the block will be impacted.
  • Access to Clementina Street between 4th and 5th streets may be restricted at times, but the contractor will facilitate access for deliveries.
  • Parking restrictions will be in effect in and around the construction area.
  • Electronic messaging boards will be in place and parking control officers and flaggers will monitor and facilitate the flow of traffic as appropriate.

Find Out More

As work proceeds, additional information on local impacts will be made available here, on Facebook, on Twitter, on our project Google Map and in media alerts. To schedule a briefing on tunnel-related construction for your community group or organization, please contact Brajah Norris at 415-701-5263 or email our team at central.subway@sfmta.com.

More information about the Central Subway tunnel and the tunnel-related work slated for 2012 is available in the following documents:

We appreciate your continued patience while construction is in progress.

07 June 2012 ~ 1 Comment

Preparing for the Central Subway Tunnel: Major Work Commencing Next Week


Pouring concrete - launch box guide walls - June 2012

At the site of the tunnel launch box, crews are constructing shallow, below-ground walls to prepare for the major upcoming excavation.

Next year, a pair of tunnel boring machines (TBMs) will begin excavating the Central Subway tunnel, building the backbone of Muni’s extension of the T Third Line through vibrant and bustling SoMa, downtown, Union Square and Chinatown. Next week, major work to prepare for tunneling is ramping up in SoMa, with additional tunnel-preparation work planned to begin this year at new sites along the project alignment.

This new stage of construction will be the first to build permanent elements of the Central Subway, kicking off the next phase of progress on this critical transit upgrade.

The work, to be carried out by tunneling contractor Barnard Impregilo Healy Joint Venture, involves excavating the site where tunneling will begin, stabilizing the ground at key points along the project alignment and relocating utilities at the tunnel’s end point.

This blog post provides an overview of the tunnel-related work slated to take place in 2012. Future posts will contain additional details about what to expect at specific construction sites, including work timelines, construction impacts and descriptions of construction techniques.

A variety of measures, including street sweeping, noise monitoring and traffic controls, will be employed to reduce construction impacts. Access to local businesses, residences and driveways will be maintained throughout construction. However, traffic, transit, parking and pedestrian walkways will be impacted, and travelers through these areas can expect an increase in noise, dust and truck traffic while work is in progress.

2012_construction_outlook_map_June2012_Page_1

This map provides an overview of the construction to prepare for tunneling that will occur in 2012. A PDF of the map can be downloaded here.

Central Subway Tunnel: 2012 Construction Overview

The following work is planned to occur this year to prepare for tunneling in 2013:

  • Launch Box: Next week, the tunneling contractor will begin excavating and constructing a launch box at the site where tunneling will begin. The launch box will be built on 4th Street between Bryant and Harrison streets, beneath the I-80 overpass. At nearly 500 feet long, 50 feet wide and up to 40 feet deep, this major excavation will take up most of the block. Next year the TBMs will start digging the Central Subway tunnels from the launch box, traveling north under 4th Street and then Stockton Street.
  • Headwalls: The contractor will install below-ground walls, called headwalls, at subway station sites in SoMa and Union Square. Headwall installation will take place on 4th Street between Folsom and Howard streets and on Stockton Street between Market and Post streets.
  • Grouting: Ground stabilization work, known as jet grouting or compensation grouting, will occur along the project alignment in SoMa and Union Square. This work involves drilling shafts into the ground, monitoring ground conditions and, if necessary, injecting a mud-like substance that acts as a stabilizer.
  • Utility Relocation: The Central Subway tunnel will extend past the end of the line in Chinatown to North Beach, paving the way for a potential future extension of the line. Utility relocation in North Beach this year will prepare for excavation of the site where the TBMs will be removed from the ground. Ongoing communications and outreach are underway to determine a schedule for this work.

Find Out More

The Central Subway team will continue to work closely with communities, local businesses and organizations to inform them of construction impacts and to ensure appropriate mitigation measures are in place. As work commences at new locations along the alignment, additional information on local impacts will be made available here, on Facebook, on Twitter, on our project Google Map and in media alerts. To schedule a briefing on tunnel-related construction for your community group or organization, please contact Brajah Norris at 415-701-5263 or email our team at central.subway@sfmta.com.

More information about the Central Subway tunnel and the tunnel-related work slated for 2012 is available in the following documents:

We appreciate your continued patience while construction is in progress.

06 June 2012 ~ 1 Comment

New sidewalks on Stockton Street as utility work nears completion

Since breaking ground in January 2011, contractor Synergy Project Management has finished relocating a variety of utility lines around Union Square to prepare for construction of the Union Square/Market Street Station.

Now, with much of this work complete, sidewalks are being restored and reopened for pedestrians.

Check out these pictures of the beautiful new sidewalks (and sidewalks-in-progress) on and around Stockton Street:

Sidewalk restoration - Stockton and O'Farrell

Sidewalk restoration in progress at the corner of Stockton and O’Farrell streets.

Sidewalk restoration - Union Square

Wooden railings help stabilize these freshly poured sidewalks as the concrete dries.

Sidewalk restoration - Union Square area

Some sidewalks in the area have been completed and are now open to pedestrians.

DSC_0024

Stockton Street shoppers, visitors, workers and walkers traverse the brand new sidewalks.

04 June 2012 ~ 2 Comments

$48.4 million in state funds awarded to Central Subway Project

Stockton Street (Flickr photo by geekstinkbreath)

The Central Subway will vastly improve travel along crowded Stockton Street. (Photo by Flickr photographer Frank Chan.)

The Central Subway Project will receive $48.4 million in funding from a state transit-investment program, allowing for continued progress on extending the T Third Line through SoMa, Union Square and Chinatown.

The funds come from the state Public Transportation Modernization, Improvement, and Service Enhancement Account (PTMISEA) Program, which funds a variety of transit-related improvements, including capital projects. In total, California has committed to invest about $307.8 million in PTMISEA funds to construct the Central Subway.

In a press release from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), Director of Transportation Edward D. Reiskin reaffirmed the Central Subway’s benefits for San Francisco’s transit system: “The Central Subway will cut peak-period travel times in half compared to current transit options, easing travel through the busy 4th Street and Stockton Street corridors,” Reiskin said. “Our partners in Sacramento have consistently recognized that these projects are key to improving transportation in San Francisco now and for future generations.”

For more information about this exciting funding news, check out this press release from the SFMTA.