One of the signature pieces of infrastructure along the hundreds of miles of California’s planned high-speed rail project was officially completed this week.
On Wednesday, officials with the California High-Speed Rail Authority announced the completion of the Cedar Viaduct in Fresno.
The 3,700-foot viaduct bridge will take trains traveling 200-plus mph over Highway 99, Cedar, and North Avenues in the state’s fifth-largest city.
According to officials, highway travelers can see a dual span of cast-in-place arches that help support the weight of future high-speed trains traveling atop the deck of the structure.
Each arch spans 179 feet and is nearly 40 feet tall. Each dual span of arches is staggered from either side of the bridge, so they can be seen from both sides of the highway.
The Cedar Viaduct is one of several structures along the high-speed rail line with arches. Just a few miles away, drivers on Highway 99 can see similar arches for the 210-foot span of the San Joaquin River Viaduct, which will be the gateway to the Central Valley.
“At almost three-quarters of a mile long, the Cedar Viaduct is one of our largest and most visible structures across the alignment and one of the significant achievements to date on the program,” said Garth Fernandez, Central Valley Regional Director of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
The Cedar Viaduct is part of “Construction Package 1,” the first 32-mile stretch of high-speed rail between Avenue 19 in Madera County and East American Avenue in Fresno County.
Rail Authority officials say they have begun work to extend 119 miles of rail that are under construction to 171 miles of future electrified high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield.
There are currently more than 30 active construction projects related to the High-Speed Rail in the Central Valley. The Rail Authority has cleared the way for construction of 422 miles of the project between Los Angeles County and the Bay Area.
According to BuildHSR.com, the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s construction update website, 40% of the 56 projects in the current phase are complete, including the 119 miles of active rail construction.