The California High-Speed Rail Authority and the City of Fresno held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 4, 2017 to commemorate the opening of the new and improved Tuolumne Street Bridge in downtown Fresno. The completion of this bridge marks the first completed structure for the California high-speed rail program.
The original Tuolumne Street Bridge in downtown Fresno was demolished in January 2016. The new bridge was rebuilt three feet taller with the highest point shifted to the west, creating clearance for high-speed trains and Union Pacific Railroad. The new bridge will accommodate two-way traffic; support the revitalization of downtown Fresno's city core and features wider pedestrian walkways and bike paths.
Forty-two massive steel and concrete girders were placed on the Tuolumne Street Bridge. The girders were manufactured in Lathrop by Con-Fab California and are 149-feet long and weigh more than 166,200 pounds or approximately 83 tons. Approximately 40,000 tons of concrete and steel were recycled from the demolition, and more than 15 small businesses worked on the project.
After the ceremony, a procession of vintage cars provided by local business owner John Lawson made its first trip down the two-way bridge, which also included patrol cars from the California Highway Patrol, the Fresno Police Department and fire trucks from the Fresno Fire Department.
With more than 119 miles of active construction in the Central Valley, construction of a high-speed rail line between the Silicon Valley and Central Valley is planned for passenger service beginning in 2025
The west side of the Tuolumne Street Bridge begins at F Street, crossing over Union Pacific and the eventual high-speed rail lines, touching down at Broadway Street on the east side, a distance of about 1,500 feet.
Metal railings have been installed on the new Tuolumne Street Bridge, replacing temporary wooden railings along both embankment walls of the two-way bridge. Crews are also working with the City of Fresno on testing different paint shades and application methods on a section of the bridge near Broadway Street.
Demolition began January 2015 and is expected to be completed and opened to traffic Summer 2017.