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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

California agrees to focus on Bay Area line alternatives that 'sharply reduce' right-of-way property acquisitions


Yesterday, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) agreed to focus its analysis of the San Francisco-to-San Jose section of the state’s proposed HSR line on alternatives that “substantially narrow” the right-of-way property required to build the project, according to a prepared statement.

The decision was based on feedback CHSRA received during more than 30 community meetings during the past four months.

Adopted by the CHSRA board, the Supplemental Alternatives Analysis calls for more detailed study of three approaches to creating a four-track system along the Caltrain corridor through the Peninsula to be shared by the two rail systems, each using designs that shrink the “width of the project” from 120 feet to as narrow as 80 feet, according to the statement.

“Our challenge is to build a statewide high-speed train system that works in concert with local commuter rail systems and respects the communities through which it passes — with this action, we are moving toward that solution,” CHSRA Chairman Curt Pringle.

Narrowing the project width “poses design and construction challenges,” but also would “sharply reduce” the amount of property needed to build the system and lessen the construction impact, according to the analysis.

The three alternatives to be studied in the Draft Environmental Impact Report — expected to be circulated to the public in December — call for using a combination of at-grade, aerial, trench and "to a lesser degree" tunnels along the route, according to the statement. A final decision on alignment alternatives won’t be made until CHSRA and the Federal Railroad Administration complete and approve the final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement for each project section.