More than 3,500 people are working on the California High Speed Rail project in the Central Valley, but authorities consider the project to be safe during the COVID-19 crisis in part because it is spread over 100 miles.
In trust, anywhere from 100 to 700 are actually out at construction sites between Madera and Kern counties at any given time, depending what’s being worked on, says Annie Parker, a spokesperson for the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CaHSRA).
Field workers also have the safety advantage of being outside in open areas, so they have room to social distance, Streetsblog has reported. “But there are other issues, such as the necessity of the ‘buddy system’ so workers can keep an eye on each other and get help if someone is injured.”
Parker says contractor are “respecting local and state requirements related to stay-in-place orders.
- Our construction crews have posted Centers for Disease Control and safety protocols at all offices and field trailers.
- Superintendents and foremen have also been briefed on safety protocols and procedures.
- Social distancing is also in place in their offices and in the field. Some activities do require a buddy system, so they can’t get around that, but they are trying to remain six feet apart when possible.
- Project staff and construction workers are not being allowed to drive in the same vehicles to project sites.
“If a crew member shows symptoms related to COVID, they are being sent home immediately, including the rest of the crew to be self-quarantined for two weeks. To the best of our knowledge, that has not happened. As things change we will act accordingly.”