The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has awarded $85.9 million in contracts to advance design of the Central Valley’s Merced-to-Madera and Fresno-to-Bakersfield project segments, covering a total of 52.4 miles.
CHSRA on Aug. 17 reported that the Board approved contracts with Stantec Consulting Services and HNTB for the work, bringing it closer to constructing the final Central Valley packages that will complete the 171-mile high-speed rail segment and ultimately connect to the Bay Area and Los Angeles (see map below).
Stantec was awarded a $41 million Merced-to-Madera extension design contract, which covers approximately 33.9 miles with 40 structures. HNTB was awarded a $44.9 million Fresno-to-Bakersfield (Locally Generated Alternative) extension contract, covering approximately 18.5 miles between the cities of Shafter (Popular Avenue on map) and Bakersfield in Kern County with 31 structures.
The contracts are slated to last two years, and CHSRA said it will work with the firms “to finalize the project configuration footprint and advance design work to refine costs and travel time enhancements, and map right of way and utility relocation.”
“Taken together, these contracts bolster the Authority’s [CHSRA’s] effort to have high speed trains operating in the heart of California by the end of the decade,” CHSRA Chairman Tom Richards said. “These contracts demonstrate our ability to leverage lessons learned from past contracts, increase project readiness, and prepare for continued progress on this transformative project.”
On Aug. 11, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded CHSRA $25 million in RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) grant funding, which will provide more than half of the cost for the Madera-to-Merced design contract, CHRA said.
Additionally, California’s new $307.9 billion budget includes the release of $4.2 billion in Proposition 1A funds to CHSRA, “prioritizing $2 billion for the construction of the Merced-to-Bakersfield segment” the Los Angeles Times reported on June 30.
“Construction is well under way in the Central Valley, with the first [119-mile] segment to be built between Merced and a point 19 miles north of Bakersfield,” Railway Age Contributing Editor David Peter Alan reported in March. “When completed, it will be the first piece of Class 9 track in the country, with a top speed of 200 mph. Plans call for a three-hour running time between San Francisco and Los Angeles when Phase 1 opens for service. Phase 2 calls for two extensions: from Merced to Sacramento on the north end, and a new route on the south end; from Los Angeles east to San Bernardino and then south through Escondido to San Diego.”