Never mind the nearly two-decade delay in opening the new span of the Bay Bridge. Or the extra year it's taking to wrap up the torturous widening of Highway 101 through Mountain View.
There's one project sailing right along, and it's a biggie -- bringing BART to San Jose in the largest, most expensive public works project the South Bay has ever seen.
It's due to open in late 2017, a full year ahead of schedule and on budget to meet its $3.2 billion price tag.
Work on the 15-mile extension to San Jose will be proceeding full-bore this year, with a target opening in three years.
"We're really starting construction in earnest," said Todd Sutton, project manager of the Santa Clara County phase of the extension from Fremont to the Berryessa area of San Jose. "This is our breakout year."
Work is ahead of schedule for several reasons. BART will run along the old Union Pacific tracks, making it easier to build the extension. The weather has been cooperative; Santa Clara and Alameda counties have passed three local taxes to fund most of the construction; and political infighting has been almost nonexistent.
The Alameda County portion is scheduled to open in late 2015. The 10-mile stretch in Santa Clara County will cost $2.3 billion, while the price tag for Alameda County is $890 million.
Tracks are 50 percent installed through Fremont, and work on the new Warm Springs station is underway. The tunnel through Central Park is complete.
By this summer, roadwork that has greatly annoyed drivers will be finished on Warm Springs Boulevard, Grimmer Boulevard and Walnut Avenue. Hostetter Road through San Jose will also reopen.
And in a year, the current widening of Mission Boulevard could bring relief for drivers trying to get from Interstate 680 to I-880.
Then work moves south. Lanes will be closed at Sierra Road and Lundy Avenue this spring for nine months to build a tunnel there.
"That will be a big one," said Carolyn Gonot, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's chief program officer for the BART extension. "It's a full closure and will have large impacts."
It's not all smooth going, of course, and Mike Stirniman, of Fremont, is ready for a break.
"Haven't the people who work along Kato Road in Fremont suffered enough?" he asked. "We have endured years of seemingly continuous construction at the Kato-Warren intersection, two years of detours due to the Scott Creek and Warren grade separation projects, and now the CHP and Fremont police have apparently decided that the Kato-Warren intersection is a new revenue stream ripe for the picking."
He says the police have written numerous tickets for rolling through a right turn on red from Warren to Kato.
BART tracks will cross over Walnut Avenue and under Stevenson Boulevard, Fremont's Central Park and the Union Pacific Railroad track in a subway.
Then they'll run along the old Union Pacific line, going underground north of Montague Expressway. A station there will serve as the transfer point for riders who want to take light rail to the many high-tech companies along Tasman Drive.
North of Berryessa Road, BART will rise 35 feet above ground level and remain elevated past Mabury Road before the line ends near Highway 101.
Plans are being made for the opening in a few years and commute changes that BART will offer. Some I-880 motorists may get out of their cars and take a train, and those riders will be able to transfer to light rail to reach job sites along Tasman, or use express buses to reach other areas of Silicon Valley.
The VTA is beginning a study on the impact of BART on its bus and light-rail network.
San Jose is working to create strong options for biking to and from the Berryessa station, including connecting the Hedding Street green bike lanes from 17th Street to the station.
BART boosters hope the line will one day extend six additional miles through downtown San Jose, ending at the Caltrain depot in Santa Clara. However, that final stretch will require building a tunnel under Santa Clara Street and will cost $4 billion. The VTA is $2 billion short, and no timetable has been set for the work.
But, except for that, the extension is ahead of schedule and on budget.
"No hitches," said BART spokeswoman Molly McArthur. "Doesn't always happen that way, but when it does, the results show."
Contact Gary Richards at 408-920-5335.
BART extension to
south bay gaining steam
Fremont: Tunnel through Central Park is done, and track is 50 percent finished to Warm Springs.
Roadwork will be finished later this year on Warm Springs Boulevard, Grimmer and Walnut.
Opening to Warm Springs: Late 2015.
Montague/Capitol trench: Installation of shoring to support the excavation of a trench at Capitol Avenue is expected to begin in late March.
Hostetter Road: Trench is expected to be completed in May, with road reopening shortly after.
Mission/Warren area improvements to finish this summer.
Dixon Landing Road: Grade separation and utility work to start in early April.
Berryessa Station: Construction to begin in late March.
Sierra/Lundy: Lane closures, shoring and excavation work for the Sierra/Lundy tunnel is expected late this spring.
Berryessa station and aerial tracks to be completed mid-2016.
Train testing expected.
Open late 2017 to Berryessa station in San Jose.
Sources: Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, BART