Ground broken ceremonially, and otherwise, on BCAG, B-Line operations center

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CHICO >> There were two groundbreakings Tuesday morning at the future home of the Butte County Association of Governments and Butte Regional Transit at 326 Huss Lane in south Chico.

A number of officials gathered for a ceremonial event with gold-painted shovels. They were overshadowed a bit by the heavy equipment in the background that was truly moving earth.

Work has been underway for a while on the seven-acre complex that will include four new buildings totalling 41,000 square-feet.

A long building facing Huss Lane will house the B-Line”s operations and maintenance center, as well as BCAG”s offices, which will move from their current location on Sierra Sunrise Terrace in the California Park neighborhood. A second large building will house bus maintenance shops, while two smaller buildings will be a bus wash and a fueling station, something the current bus center is missing.

The cost of the whole project is about $30 million. BCAG Deputy Director Andy Newsum said about $17 million of that was for the actual construction, with the remainder going for fees, design and environmental mitigation. The main contractor is Broward Builders of Woodland.

The bulk of the money — $19.8 million — is coming from the Federal Transit Administration, with another $8 million from Proposition 1B, passed by California voters in 2006. The remainder came from a range of local and state sources.

The new complex will save about $17,000 a month on lease payments for BCAG”s existing headquarters and the current bus operations center.

BCAG has also been required by the city of Chico to construct a 48-inch master storm drain for the industrial park where the new center will be located, a $1.5 million project that”s nearing completion now.

In comments opening the ceremony, BCAG Executive Director Jon Clark said the project was a long time coming, having been recognized as a need when the various city and county bus lines were merged in 2005. Since then, the B-Line has developed into a significant part of Butte County”s transportation system, providing 1.5 million rides a year.

The complex is expected to be completed in April 2016.

A webcam has been set up at http://oxblue.com/open/kitchell/butteopcenter to provide a running view of the construction. It includes a time lapse feature that gives a quick view of the work completed to date.

Reach City Editor Steve Schoonover at 896-7750.

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