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San Francisco’s Central Subway, a public transportation project criticized for being delayed and over budget, started testing trains in the underground tunnels last week, transit officials said Tuesday.

The project, which began construction in 2012, is slated to open for public use by the spring of 2022, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s latest timeline. The Central Subway is meant to link to the Metro T-Third Line and go through the South of Market, Union Square and Chinatown neighborhoods.

Jeffrey Tumlin, the SFMTA’s director of transportation, said at Tuesday’s Board of Directors meeting:

“It was amazing watching everything that is going on down there, including finalizing some of the detailed elements like the installation of the art at the Chinatown station.”

He noted that the project’s Chinatown station earned the 2020 project of the year award from the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association for successfully creating a large underground cavern within a dense neighborhood using the sequential excavation method tunneling strategy.

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