California high-speed rail board approves design contracts

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California Construction News staff writer

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has approved contracts for design of the 52.4 total miles extending into Merced and Bakersfield.

The contracts bring the project closer to the final Central Valley segments that will complete the 171-mile high-speed rail electrified segment and ultimately connect to the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

“Taken together, these contracts bolster the Authority’s effort to have high-speed trains operating in the heart of California by the end of the decade,” authority chairman Tom Richards said in a statement. “These contracts demonstrate our ability to leverage lessons learned from past contracts, increase project readiness and prepare for continued progress on this transformative project.”

The authority awarded the $41 million Merced to Madera extension design contract to Stantec Consulting Services Inc. – approximately 33.9 miles with 40 structures.

chsra imageThe $44.9 million Fresno to Bakersfield extension contract was awarded to HNTB -approximately 18.5 miles between the cities of Shafter and Bakersfield in Kern County with 31 structures.

Contracts are expected to last two years, and the two companies will work with the Authority 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.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the CHSRA $25 million in federal grant funding to advance the project into downtown Merced. The Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant will provide more than half of the cost for the Madera to Merced design contract.

The California high-speed rail project is currently under construction along 119 miles in California’s Central Valley at 35 active job sites. To date, more than 8,000 construction jobs have been created since the start of construction.

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