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Freight Railroad Relocation Project

General Notice - Berryessa Creek Mailing - Oct. 2009
General Notice - Weekend and Night Work - Sept. 11, 2009
Construction Notice - PG&E Utility Relocation Work - Aug. 31 - Sept. 28, 2009

Project Overview and History

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) acquired the right-of-way in December 2002 from the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) securing a vital north/south transit corridor for Santa Clara County.

The Freight Railroad Relocation (FRR) Project spans approximately eight miles of railroad from Fremont to Milpitas and included eight creek crossing plus multiple intersecting road. The purpose of the FRR project is to relocate existing freight rail tracks to a parallel location within the railroad right-of-way and facilitate key maintenance activities. This project will help secure vital space for a future mass transit system to be built alongside the existing railroad tracks. The project will also depress and lower Warren Avenue and Kato Road beneath the railroad tracks to help ease congestion, enhance safety and improve local traffic circulation in Fremont and Milpitas.

Project Objective

Several maintenance activities are necessary to transform this very important corridor and make space for future transit. These important works activities include relocating UPRR freight tracks, relocating utilities, grade separating several major intersections, and enhancing flood control measures at multiple creeks.

Construction Update - Fall 2009

Major Milestone Completed in Berryessa Creek

The rainy season has begun and a major milestone was met at the end of October. The first stage of a newly expanded creek channel and lining of Berryessa Creek was completed just south of the Abel St. Bridge in Milpitas. In partnership with the Santa Clara Valley Water District, VTA’s contractor demolished the old creek channel, poured concrete and removed bottlenecks in the creek that previously caused periodic flooding. The second stage of this work will resume in April, doubling the capacity of the creek channel along with relocating the freight railroad tracks west within the rail corridor. When the project is completed next summer, the improvements will benefit the future BART system and provide the local community with protection against future flooding.

During the winter months work will continue in the area. These activities will include improvements to strengthen and stabilize the Abel St. Bridge and bring it up to current seismic standards, allowing BART to be built below. Cars and pedestrians can continue to use the bridge while construction occurs below.

Attention pedestrians: Please continue to follow posted trail detour signs when jogging or walking on levees around the Berryessa Creek worksite.

Milpitas Trail Detour Map

Kato Rd. Flood Control Improvement Project

At the intersection of Kato Road and the rail corridor, flood control improvements are being executed concurrently with the new residential construction to minimize future disruptions for residents. Recently the Scott Creek culvert was removed and replaced. This activity required close coordination and cooperation with Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR), who ceased operations for 72 hours during the construction. PG&E also recently relocated electrical and gas lines along Kato Rd. in preparation for the future grade separation which will lower Kato Road under the UPRR and future BART tracks.


 Workers forming the new box culvert for storm run-off.  A new sound wall is set in place adjacent to Castilleja community.
Workers forming the new box culvert for storm run-off. A new sound wall is set in place adjacent to Castilleja community.








To complete work before winter storms, certain work activities at Kato Rd. were accelerated to advance the project’s schedule. In addition to the flood control improvements, the sound wall along the Castilleja community was removed and will be replaced with a higher wall. Landscaping was also replaced along Kato Rd., and near Castilleja community’s main entrance. The completion of this project is expected in March and will minimize impacts of the planned grade separation at Kato Rd.

Construction Activities:

Monday –Friday
7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Weekend work possible

Through March 2010

Sheet driving (vibrating metal sheets into the ground), demolition noise, vehicle warning beepers, dust, flood lights, idling diesel engines, and possible weekend and night work. Workers onsite will be instructed to comply with strict rules for removing dirt and debris from trucks as they enter the roadway. Flagmen will be staged to maintain proper ingress and egress to worksite. Temporary one-lane closures will continue for short periods along Kato Rd.

Project Schedule

  • Utility Relocation (July 2008 – October 2009):
    Existing utilities were relocated along the FRR alignment to lower depths using Horizontal Directional Drilling methods and conventional trenching.
  • Creek Culvert and Bridge Construction (April 2009 – July 2010):
    Four existing smaller culvert were reconstructed during the 2009 dry season to direct water underneath the railroad track. Simultaneously, work crews will seismically retrofit Abel St. Bridge and begin to demolish and upgrade the larger box culvert at Berryessa Creek.
  • Track Roadbed and General Construction Activities (February 2009 – December 2011):
    VTA and its contractors will begin to construct newly relocated trackbed next to the current railroad track. This work will involve the importation of a large quantity of soil and crushed rock. Track roadbed will be built in various phases throughout the course of the Freight Railroad Relocation Project.
  • Track Installation and Signal Work (July 2009 – May 2012):
    Upon completion of the tracked installation, UPRR will install new railroad track and signal work to support freight operations along the corridor.
  • New Railroad Bridge at Mission Blvd. ( Mid 2010 – Fall 2012)
    A new, longer UPRR railroad bridge will be built over Mission Blvd.  to allow the widening of the road and the construction of new access ramps to Kato Rd. The new UPRR bridge will be constructed adjacent to the existing one, which will be removed.
  • Kato Grade Separation (Summer 2010 - Summer 2012):
    Kato Rd. access will be closed and depressed under existing railroad tracks. A single railroad bridge will be constructed.
  • Warren Avenue Grade Separation (Summer 2011 – Fall 2013):
    Warren Avenue will eventually be grade separated and depressed under and newly constructed single railroad bridge. This work will occur in multiple phases to allow for the continued operation of the railroad.
  • Railroad Abandonment (2012):
    After all railroad operations are proceeding as normal, the old railroad will be officially abandoned and removed to clear the corridor for future transit.

 Freight Railroad Relocation Project Map

Project Features

Horizontal Directional Drilling:
VTA will implement horizontal directional boring technology to install relocated utilities at select road intersections and creek crossings. Directional drilling is a proven technology that creates less traffic congestion, saves time, and is safer for the environment because it does not disturb the above ground surface. Traditional trenching methods are more disruptive to the public and will be used sparingly.