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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

CHSRA board approves final environmental documents for Merced-Fresno corridor

Yesterday, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) board signed off on the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement for the Merced-to-Fresno section

The 65-mile corridor will be built using what the authority terms as the “Hybrid” alternative — a route that parallels Union Pacific Railroad tracks and State Route 99. To avoid impacts in downtown Madera, the corridor will run east of the city and parallel an existing BNSF Railway Co. corridor. The route was selected as the preferred alternative after CHSRA studied three options.

Meanwhile, the board also selected the downtown Merced and downtown Fresno station locations, and directed authority staff to study options for a wye near Chowchilla and report back by July 31.

Now, the Federal Railroad Administration will consider approving the Merced-Fresno project and issuing a record of decision under the National Environmental Policy Act. CHSRA officials expect the record of decision to be issued next month, according to a press release. The authority hopes to launch construction in late 2012 or early 2013.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/4/2012