US68bn California High-Speed Rail Project Commences

Work has finally commenced on the San Francisco – Los Angeles high-speed rail project. On Tuesday, workers started building a concrete footing that will support a 1,600-foot viaduct over the Fresno River, Highway 145 and Raymond Road.

Work had been delayed by land acquisition problems, but it should now proceed apace, according to Jeff Morales, CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. “Over the next few months, people will see things happening at about a half-dozen different sites,” Morales said. “By the end of the summer, you won’t be able to go anywhere in the Valley without seeing people in orange vests and green shirts hard at work.”

During the summer, work will also commence on street over- and underpasses.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is building a 520-mile bullet-train line that will run across the state, connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles by way of Merced, Fresno, Bakersfield and Palmdale. The project is estimated to cost $68 billion and likely to complete by 2028.

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On Thursday, it was announced that a joint venture of Dragados USA and Broomfield-based Flatiron signed a $1.23 billion contract to construct a 65-mile long segment of the above bullet-train line.

Dragados USA is a subsidiary of Spain’s Grupo ACS and Dragados SA.

Flatiron, one of the largest infrastructure contractors in North America, is a subsidiary of German construction company Hochtief.

That 65-mile stretch runs between a point near Fresno south to near the Kern-Tulare county line. Design should be completed in 18 months and construction thereafter would take another four years, says Flatiron.

According to Bizjournals, the California high speed rail project is the most expensive public-works project in US history.

Trains capable of speeds over 200 miles an hour will cover the distance between San Francisco and Los Angeles in under three hours, says the Authority on its website. The network will ultimately extend over 800 miles and include Sacramento and San Diego.

Images credit:

California High-Speed Rail Authority

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