Friday, February 10, 2012

SFMTA Central Subway gains key federal approval

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The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency received a letter granting federal approval to proceed with a key component of the Central Subway Project. The approval, a letter of no prejudice from the Federal Transit Administration, allows the SFMTA to commence work that will prepare the 1.7-mile project alignment for tunneling and station construction.

"The federal government's consistent support of the Central Subway is a testament to the importance of this project and the merit of our vision for improving transit in San Francisco," said Tom Nolan, chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors. "Once in service, the Central Subway will decrease transit times and improve access to jobs, commercial areas and cultural venues for residents and visitors alike."

Issuance of the LONP provided the newest indication that the full commitment of federal funding through the FTA's New Starts program may be forthcoming. The SFMTA submitted an application for the Full Funding Grant Agreement for the Central Subway Project in September 2011. A decision on whether the project will attain the FFGA is expected this spring.
The LONP will allow the Central Subway Project to complete the following work:

• Excavation of the tunnel portal and mobilization and setup of the tunnel staging area at 4th Street between Bryant and Harrison streets.

• Construction of a steel and concrete deck structure at the tunnel staging site to carry traffic over the excavation site.

• Installation of below-ground structural supports at three locations: the tunnel staging site, the Moscone Station site at 4th Street between Howard and Folsom streets and another site within the project alignment at 4th and Jessie streets. The structural supports will act as watertight barriers and stabilize the construction sites.

The Central Subway Project will extend the Municipal Railway's T Third Line from the 4th Street Caltrain Station to Chinatown, providing a direct, rapid transit link from the Bayshore and Mission Bay areas to SoMa and downtown. Four new stations will be built along the 1.7-mile Central Subway Project alignment, an above-ground station at 4th and Brannan streets and three underground stations at Moscone Center, Union Square and Chinatown.

The Central Subway Project is the second phase of the SFMTA Third Street Light Rail Transit Project. Phase 1 of the project constructed a 5.2-mile light rail line along the densely populated 3rd Street corridor. This segment of the T Third Line began revenue service in April 2007, restoring light rail service to a high transit-ridership area of San Francisco for the first time in 50 years.

Revenue service on the Central Subway is expected to begin in 2019.

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