Construction of Fresno River Viaduct Underway–First Aerial Structure for High-Speed Rail

MADERA, Calif. – Travelers on Amtrak and State Route 145 in Madera County can see the beginnings of the Fresno River Viaduct, the first aerial structure to be built as part of California’s high-speed rail program. This viaduct will stretch from Raymond Road to Watson Street, crossing State Route 145, the Fresno River, and will run parallel with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway track.

“Continued progress on the high-speed rail program is evident by the work being done today at the Fresno River Bridge,” said High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales. “Californians will continue to see more jobs and sustainable construction activity as we ramp up building high-speed rail in the Central Valley.”

Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons, a Joint Venture (TPZP), is the design-build team in charge of delivering Construction Package 1 (CP 1), the first 29 mile stretch between Avenue 17 in Madera County to East American Avenue in Fresno County.

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This week, workers began the process of constructing the foundation for the viaduct and will gradually complete the 1,600 foot structure by segments. They started by assembling the rebar cages and digging the holes for the production piles, which serves as the foundation for the bridge columns.

After the cages are inserted into the ground, concrete is placed and left to cure for approximately three days. The piles in the river bottom will be different from the ones on higher ground as they will be shorter, in pairs and have a reinforced concrete pile cap in place before the column is erected above ground. The foundation will ensure that the high-speed trains are adequately supported while travelling at speeds exceeding 200 mph.

Construction crews are using two 120 foot cranes, forklifts, loaders, drill rigs and other Tier IV heavy equipment to construct the viaduct. Approximately 75 people will work on completing this structure including TPZP subcontractors Becho, Inc., Landavazo Bros., Inc and Schwager Davis, Inc. with materials being supplied by Martinez Steel Corporation and Outback Materials. Construction on the Fresno River viaduct is expected to last between nine and twelve months.

You can see an electronic version of this release here.