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USA: BART celebrates completion of tunnel underneath Fremont’s Central Park

FREMONT — To the naked eye, the BART tunnel underneath Lake Elizabeth is a claustrophobic mixture of dust, concrete and darkness, but regional leaders say they see something far more significant: a pathway to the future prosperity of Fremont, Silicon Valley and the entire Bay Area.

That vision was the focus of the ceremony Friday that celebrated the subway’s completion in Central Park, where hundreds of people toured the tunnel.

Union City Mayor Mark Green noted that completing the project brought BART one step closer to Silicon Valley, where officials hope a station is built by the end of the decade.

“All BART stations are going to be much more valuable, now that they’re going into not just San Francisco and Oakland, but also Santa Clara County,” he said.

The $137 million Fremont subway project began in August 2009 and took three years to complete. Once the tunnel is in operation, it will take BART trains, traveling at an average speed of just under 70 miles per hour, about 50 seconds to pass through it.

The tunnel is about 1.25 miles long — more than 20 percent of the 5.4-mile extension between Fremont BART and the Warm Springs/South Fremont station scheduled to open in 2015.

The Warm Springs extension’s total budget is $890 million and has been funded by nearly 10 sources, including BART, state and local agencies, and Alameda County’s Measure B, which residents approved to continue funding transportation
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