Published December 22, 1998
Volume 6, Number 12

Changes Abound for 680 Commuters with New Bus Service and 580/680 Construction

The I-680 Express, the new WHEELS bus service linking Hacienda with Contra Costa County, begins service January 4. 

In addition, with construction underway on the 580/680 flyover project, there are many changes afoot for area commuters. 

I-680 Express Bus
The I-680 Express Bus will begin service with two runs during both the morning and evening commute hours, with the potential for additional service to be added if there is sufficient demand. 

While service into Hacienda from Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill are likely to be more heavily used, the route also offers Hacienda residents an opportunity to travel in the reverse direction as well.

The bus will make few stops in an effort to provide speedy service for commuters. Since the vehicles will use the HOV lanes on I-680, travel times are competitive with solo drivers making the trip. 

The morning routes begin in Hacienda at Owens Drive and Willow Road at the bus stop in front of the BART station and continue to the Walnut Creek BART station. From there, the bus continues to the Mitchell Drive Park and Ride in Walnut Creek, the Park and Ride lot on Coggins Drive adjacent to the Pleasant Hill BART station, and stops again to pickup passengers at Walnut Creek BART. 

The route returns to the East Dublin/Pleasanton BART station, then circulates through Hacienda following the same route as the WHEELS number 9 bus, as shown on the map at left. 

All Hacienda residents and employees will be able to ride the route free of charge with their WHEELS pass, available from the Hacienda Owners Association. 

"We're pleased and excited to be able to offer this service to our tenants," says James Paxson, general manager of the Association. 

To order your free WHEELS pass, call the Hacienda Transportation Hotline at (925) 734-6551, or order online. 

The Walnut Creek BART station is the site of another stop, either at the "Passenger Loading Only"
area in the foreground or next to the parking structure further up the drive (seen immediately above). 

The I-680 Express will stop at this Park and Ride Lot on Coggins Drive adjacent to the
Pleasant Hill BART station. 

The Mitchell Drive Park and Ride Lot is next door to the Animal Rescue Foundation. 

580/680 Flyover
Work has begun on the I-580/I-680 Direct Connector Project. The goal of the five-year task is to construct a two-lane southbound to eastbound flyover connector, as well as other improvements.

Current information is always available toll free at (877) 4-580-680. 

Initially, construction has focused on local street improvements and realignments. All utility relocation, the realignment of Johnson Drive, widening of Amador Plaza Road and construction of St. Patrick Way is expected to be completed by next summer.

At the same time, work is ongoing to widen southbound I-680 from the Alcosta on-ramp to the I-580 interchange. The construction of the southbound I-680 off-ramp at Amador Plaza Road is proceeding and is expected to be complete by fall/winter 1999. 

The contractor, FCI of San Jose, has also begun building the two-lane southbound to eastbound connector. The work will be carried out in five separate phases to minimize disruption to the 275,000 vehicles that go through the Interchange daily. According to Francis Lo, a consultant project manager for the Alameda County Transit Authority (ACTA), a major challenge will be the construction of the bridge above the active BART tracks without affecting their revenue service. This work is expected to take approximately four years.

The project team has successfully completed construction of drainage culverts and other facilities before the arrival of the winter rain and progress is currently running slightly ahead of the contract schedule. "With the project teams hard work and a little luck, we may be able to shave a few months from the project but weather is a big factor," according to Lo.

To facilitate traffic movement through the area, a freeway service patrol will aid motorists in the construction area on a limited basis. During certain commute hours, a tow truck will be on hand to assist stranded drivers to keep all traffic lanes open.

A scale model of the entire project can also be viewed at the Caltrans Construction Office, 4790 Broder Boulevard, Dublin, between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. weekdays.


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