muni_generic.jpgThe San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors Tuesday unanimously approved awarding a $24.1 million contract to a company to upgrade the agency’s aging communication system.

At this afternoon’s meeting at City Hall, the board gave the go-ahead for modern-age technology to replace the current network, which has been in use since the 1970s.

The $24,116,000 upgrade with Fremont-based Blocka Construction Inc. is slated to get started in the next month, according to Vince Harris, SFMTA director of capital programs and construction.

The project entails improving the platform displays and public address systems at the nine Muni Metro stations, the system for monitoring the 26 power substations used for trolley buses and light-rail vehicles, and creating a new subway Fiber Broadband Network system, which connects all underground infrastructures.

Muni’s central control, which already exists, would be also improved and upgraded, Harris said.

Harris touted quicker response times to any service disruptions or other issues, easier parts replacement compared to working with the current obsolete systems, and compatibility with other newer communication networks, such as the one planned for Muni’s Central Subway project.

In the event of a power outage, the new system will provide backup services.

The replacement is expected to take one and half years.

For passengers, the changes are expected to result in increased reliability, security and safety while riding on the transit system.

With the current system, especially in the underground subway, one small problem can cause widespread service disruptions, which is anticipated to be ameliorated with a modern network that can more efficiently isolate a problem and allow quicker fixes, SFMTA electrical and communication engineering project manager Frank Lau said.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

Want more news, sent to your inbox every day? Then how about subscribing to our email newsletter? Here’s why we think you should. Come on, give it a try.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!