BART is closing down a key portion of its system in Oakland this weekend as part of a major rail replacement project -- a shutdown that will disrupt service between the East Bay and San Francisco.
There will be no BART service between West Oakland and 19th Street stations or between West Oakland and Lake Merritt stations. The work will start at 1:30 a.m. Saturday and end just before the system opens for the Monday morning commute.
The agency will provide a free shuttle service using AC Transit buses between 19th Street and West Oakland.
BART spokeswoman Anna Duckworth said Thursday the work will be on the several lines that converge at West Oakland.
“It’s a really critical part of our system,” Duckworth said. “We’re going to be replacing welded rail as well as replacing restraining rail, which acts as a guardrail for our wheels.”
The work will include replacing direct fixation pads, which help keep the track in place, and installing new crossing panels, cover boards and insulators.
The weekend shuttle buses will run in a kind of square. From West Oakland Station, buses will travel east on Seventh Street to Broadway, then go north on Broadway to drop passengers at the 17th Street entrance to 19th Street Station.
In the opposite direction, buses leaving 19th Street and Broadway will turn west on 20th, north on San Pablo, then west on West Grand Avenue to Mandela Parkway, where they'll head south to West Oakland Station.
This weekend's work is the first of several scheduled shutdowns, continuing into September. The next closure is scheduled for Aug. 25-26.
Duckworth says when this round of maintenance is completed, passengers will notice the difference.
“We did a similar shutdown between Concord and Pleasant Hill and we heard from our passengers that it was a quieter ride," she said. "So we know this works to keep the system quieter, safer and more reliable.”