BART track work to affect weekend service between Lafayette, Rockridge stations

BART on Friday announced plans to proceed with a construction project near the transit agency's Orinda station that will require a suspension of weekend service between the Lafayette and Rockridge stations through July.

BART expects to begin the project May 9 and 10 and continue work on weekends through July 4 and 5. The agency is replacing track components like rock ballast, track switches, wooden ties and rails along the line, many of which date back to when BART first started serving Contra Costa County in 1973. 

In addition to the service closures, the project will require temporary lane closures along Highway 24 late at night and early in the morning. The closures are not expected to affect more than two lanes, according to BART. 

The agency will provide a free bus bridge for passengers traveling from Lafayette to Rockridge on the scheduled work weekends. Riders can expect delays of about 20 to 25 minutes, according to BART officials. 

The project has been deemed essential work during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, according to the agency. 

A fraction of normal BART traffic will likely be affected by the closures and bus bridge. BART's daily ridership has fallen as much as 94 percent since the pandemic began. 

Combined Saturday and Sunday ridership has hovered around 20,000 in recent weeks, a far cry from the agency's regular six-figure weekend ridership in normal conditions. 

The agency is planning a second project requiring track closures near the Hayward station beginning in July. Thet project is expected to last about five weekends and require a service suspension between the Bay Fair and South Hayward stations.