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Central Subway completion date delayed again

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The Third Street Light Rail, currently under consturction as part of the Central Subway Project, would connect Chinatown to BART. (Mira Laing/Special to S.F. Examiner)
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Muni’s Central Subway construction is projected to face further delays than previously known, according to the project’s latest independent oversight report.

The forecasted 10-month delay, first reported by the San Francisco Examiner, is now expected to be nearly a year.

Transit officials previously said they’re paying for more construction hours to close that gap, using already-budgeted “contingency funding.

Instead, the oversight report, released late last month and obtained by the Examiner, shows the delays growing.

Authors of the May 2017 Project Management Oversight Committee report wrote that the SFMTA and construction contractor Tutor Perini are experiencing scheduling conflicts. Those conflicts are now in mitigation talks, which are ongoing.

“Bottom line is, the schedule is slipping, and continues to slip,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin, whose district includes Chinatown. “There are a bunch of merchants who have been behind fences for years.”

Chinatown will net its first subway when the $1.6 billion project is completed, connecting the neighborhood to BART and the Muni subway network downtown as well as the Mission Bay and Bayview. The line will boast more than 38,000 daily projected riders, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said the oversight report is written well after the information is submitted, and that the delays have been dealt with since.

“The good news is that we believe we have stopped a continued slippage of the schedule and can now work to make up the lost time,” he said.

Central Subway Program Director John Funghi previously told the Examiner that shifts to construct the subway in Chinatown are now 24 hours a day to make up for the delays, paid for using the subway’s $76 million “contingency” budget.

Following the Examiner’s previous coverage of the delays, Peskin announced he is exploring legislation to aid businesses impacted by SFMTA construction delays. The Mayor’s Office also allocated more than $500,000 to aid Chinatown businesses impacted by the construction delays, and is exploring further aid.

The Central Subway opening day was originally set for Dec. 26, 2018. But the monitoring report, written by David Evans and Associates, Inc. — which is required for large-scale construction projects by law — now forecasts the Central Subway’s opening day as Dec. 10, 2019.

That report, however, casts doubt even on that date.

“An achievable substantial completion date for the [contract] is likely several months later than the current forecast of December 2019,” the report’s authors wrote.

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