Water main break triggers delay on transbay BART

Transbay commuters riding Bay Area Rapid Transit faced 30-minute delays Tuesday morning after computers affected by a broken water main indicated power had gone out within the tube.

BART reported Tuesday that a contractor doing seismic improvements to the tube above ground on the Oakland side of the tube hit a water main, breaking it and flooding a computer room.

“The water caused the computers to think there was no power in the tube when there was,” BART spokesman Linton Johnson said.

On April 14, BART awarded a seismic improvement contract to Condon Johnson and Associates, but Johnson could not confirm which company was working on the tube Tuesday morning.

BART operators first noticed something was amiss some time after 7 a.m.

Johnson said BART officials knew “within about five to 10 minutes” that the reported power outage was the result of a computer malfunction, but safety protocols required them to send two trains — one in either direction — through the tube on manual mode to check for power outages.

“Manual mode means trains are running under the controls of the train operator instead of the computer,” Johnson said. Trains on manual mode must go slower than those operated automatically, and the tube was not confirmed as fully operational until about 8 a.m., Johnson said.

Oakland Resident Mei Gee, who normally rides BART into The City for work, said her commute was affected, but she was not annoyed.

“We have plenty of options. I took casual carpool this morning,” she said. “There’s that whole bridge thing that can get you to San Francisco.”

amartin@examiner.com

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