On Monday, US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx joined Secretary Brian Kelly for a tour of High-Speed Rail Authority (HSR) construction sites in Fresno County. Foxx met with a team of HSR staff including CEO Jeff Morales, Central Valley Regional Director Diana Gomez, and Construction Manager Hugo Mejia to be briefed on the project’s construction progress. Approximately 119 miles of construction is underway in the Central Valley from Madera County to Kern County. Secretary Foxx’s visit was concentrated in Construction Package 1 which has eight active construction sites within a 32-mile stretch.
The tour began at the Fresno River Viaduct where Secretary Foxx looked at the first free standing structure of the system. The 1,600-foot aerial structure will carry high-speed trains over the Fresno River and State Route 145. Work on this site began in June 2015 and is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.
HSR CEO Jeff Morales shows Secretary Foxx and Secretary Kelly the Fresno River Viaduct aerial structure.
The next stop on Secretary Foxx’s visit was a visit the San Joaquin River Viaduct, a 4,740-foot structure that will span the San Joaquin river in North Fresno and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks parallel to State Route 99. The viaduct construction will feature arches to represent the northern gateway into the city of Fresno.
The Union Pacific structure adjoining State Route 99, HSR’s San Joaquin Viaduct will run parallel to this structure.
Secretary Foxx, CEO Jeff Morales, and Secretary Kelly stand on the San Joaquin Viaduct construction site.
Secretary Foxx’s tour of Construction Package 1 concluded at the Tuolumne Street Bridge in downtown Fresno where he was joined by Congressman Jim Costa and Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin.
The original Tuolumne Street Bridge was demolished to accommodate HSR and to create two-way vehicle traffic on the bridge to support the revitalization of Fresno’s city core. A month ago, crews poured concrete onto the deck of the new bridge which can be viewed here:
The new Tuolumne Street Bridge allows for two-way traffic into downtown Fresno.
Five small businesses are working on the construction of the Tuolumne Street structure including J. Kroeker, Inc., American Crane Rental, Inc., Parrish Hansen Engineering, Oliveira Fence, Inc., and Tommy’s Water Trucks. This is a small sampling of the 318 small businesses working on HSR which include 100 disadvantaged business enterprises and 36 disabled veteran business enterprises. In addition to this growth, HSR continues to support workforce development and job creation with over 350 students graduating from pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeship classes. There are over 680 skilled craft workers helping build HSR in the four construction packages. It is estimated that HSR will create over 3,500 permanent jobs throughout the state when HSR opens and expands its service.
The project continues to build as a carbon-neutral project, HSR requires its design-build contractors to recycle all concrete and steel and use the newest, cleanest diesel engines. The project has used over 200 tons of 100% recycled steel in columns and structures. The project has recycled or stockpiled over 19,800 tons of concrete, steel, and other mixed construction materials. In the coming weeks, they will be planting trees to offset any construction emissions.
For more construction updates, visit Build HSR: http://www.hsr.ca.gov/buildhsr.html