NEWS RELEASE: California High-Speed Rail Board Approves Design Contracts to Prepare for Construction into Merced and Bakersfield

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) Board of Directors today approved contracts to advance design of the 52.4 total miles that will extend the project into Merced and Bakersfield. The contracts bring the project closer to constructing the final Central Valley packages that will complete the 171-mile high-speed rail electrified segment and ultimately connect to the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

“Taken together, these contracts bolster the Authority’s effort to have high-speed trains operating in the heart of California by the end of the decade,” said Authority Chairman Tom Richards. “These contracts demonstrate our ability to leverage lessons learned from past contracts, increase project readiness and prepare for continued progress on this transformative project.”

The Authority awarded the $41 million Merced to Madera extension design contract to Stantec Consulting Services Inc. which covers approximately 33.9 miles with 40 structures. The $44.9 million Fresno to Bakersfield (Locally Generated Alternative) extension contract was awarded to HNTB and covers approximately 18.5 miles between the cities of Shafter and Bakersfield in Kern County with 31 structures. The contracts are expected to last two years, and the two companies will work with the Authority to finalize the project configuration footprint and advance design work to refine costs and travel time enhancements, and map right of way and utility relocation. These critical steps will move the sections closer to construction, with the goal of electrified high-speed trains running between Merced and Bakersfield by the end of the decade.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the Authority $25 million in federal grant funding to advance the project into downtown Merced. The Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant will provide more than half of the cost for the Madera to Merced design contract.

The Board is expected to take action Thursday on the San Francisco to San Jose section environmental document, potentially finalizing environmental work for more than 420 miles of the 500-mile long project.

The California high-speed rail project is currently under construction along 119 miles in California’s Central Valley at 35 active job sites. To date, more than 8,000 construction jobs have been created since the start of construction. For more on construction, visit

The following link contains recent video, animations, photography, press center resources and latest renderings: Link. These files are all available for free use, courtesy of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.


Sofia Gutierrez
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