On February 28, 2022, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) announced it completed another structure on the nation’s first high-speed rail system. The South Avenue Grade Separation in Fresno County is now open to traffic, adding to the continued progress along the 65-mile segment known as Construction Package (CP) 2-3 in Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties.
The South Avenue Grade Separation, located between Cedar and Maple Avenues, allows traffic to travel over the existing BNSF Railway and future high-speed rail lines. It is one of 36 grade separations being built in CP 2-3 to improve safety along the high-speed rail alignment, and the Authority anticipates it will complete several additional structures throughout this summer and fall.
Grade separations provide major safety improvements, especially in rural areas that include Fresno County, by realigning roadways over or under a railway to eliminate potential safety hazards at intersections. In addition to improving safety, grade separations reduce noise from train horns and decrease traffic congestion.
“The completion of the South Avenue Grade Separation is another example of significant progress for California’s high-speed rail project and a testament to our efforts to deliver a safe and sustainable transportation project for the next generation,” said Garth Fernandez, Central Valley Regional Director. “With more than a dozen completed structures across all 119 miles of construction, we continue to make daily progress in building high-speed rail.”
The South Avenue Grade Separation will ensure enhanced east-to-west mobility and safety for the travelling public while reducing the harmful greenhouse gas emissions from idling cars that would typically wait at the railroad tracks.
The South Avenue Grade Separation spans nearly 390 feet and is 40 feet wide. To complete this structure, design-build contractor Dragados Flatiron Joint Venture (DFJV) manufactured 12 pre-cast girders to form the bridge deck. DFJV’s pre-cast girder facility in Hanford is the largest job-specific pre-cast facility in California and is responsible for manufacturing more than 1,300 different types of girders, pile foundations and deck panels for various structures along the 65-mile segment.