BART to Celebrate Opening of New Warm Springs / South Fremont Station

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is planning a ribbon cutting March 24 to celebration the opening of the BART Warm Springs Extension, which will go into official service March 25.

The Warm Springs Extension will add 5.4-miles of new tracks from the existing Fremont Station south to a new station in the Warm Springs District of the city of Fremont, with an optional station to be located approximately midway, in the Irvington District. The Irvington Station is dependent upon future funding through the city and may be added at a later date.

Construction of the new Warm Springs / South Fremont Station was led Kiewit and Mass Electric Construction Co, while HNTB Corporation oversaw the design, engineering and architecture. Anko Chen, HNTB lead architect of the station, told me the station was designed to meet the high standards of a modern transit facility.

"The passenger experience is critical to transit architecture, which provides a framework for users to easily connect from point A to point B," says Chen, who works out of HNTB's Oakland office. "Our challenge with this project was designing a station that was not only passenger-centric, but also modern, sustainable, inviting, safe and easily accessible and navigable."

Some of the design elements that HNTB implemented include:

  • An open design with clear and direct pathways to and within the station to make it easily navigable
  • A glass rotunda entryway that makes a statement and adds to the character of the Warm Springs district
  • Integrated art glass from Catherine Widgery on the inner walls of the station’s rotunda and curtain wall system. The colors and design used in the art glass mimic the surrounding rolling hills and enhance the identity of the station
  • Photovoltaic panels installed on the roof to produce supplemental energy for the station’s use
  • An underground detention tank to capture and store surface water runoff and return the runoff to the site
  • All water runoff is self-contained and managed onsite to avoid impact on neighboring properties

As with other BART stations, the Warm Springs / South Fremont Station will be fully accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists, and will include bike lockers, elevators and escalators, Braille signs and a tactile sight path to aid riders with disabilities.

In keeping with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) guidelines to incorporate art into mass transit projects, BART has commissioned artwork from professional artists for the new Warm Springs / South Fremont Station and for the concrete seating areas at the existing Fremont Station. 

Earlier this year, project testing was repeatedly interrupted by unanticipated faulting within the aging high voltage, 34.5kv power supply cables, needed for providing a reliable power source for the extension.  The 45-year-old cables were successfully decommissioned and replaced this summer by BART Maintenance and Engineering personnel – clearing the way for the project to continue with its rigorous testing program.

The $890-million, design-build Warm Springs Extension line also includes a 1.2-mile subway tunnel under Lake Elizabeth and Fremont Central Park. The BART Board awarded the Subway Contract to the Shimmick/Skanska Joint Venture in May of 2009.