Preferred alternative for 30-mile high-speed rail segment in Calif. calls for tunnel construction

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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The CHSRA has released the draft environmental document for a 30-mile segment.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has released the draft environmental document for the more than 30-mile segment between Palmdale and Burbank in southern California.

“The release of this draft environmental document underscores the momentum taking place with this transformational project,” said Southern California Regional Director LaDonna DiCamillo. “We have environmentally cleared 422 of the 500-mile Phase 1 system between the Bay Area and Los Angeles/Anaheim. We look forward to hearing from residents and stakeholders during this public comment phase as we work to deliver a clean, fast, and safe transportation network for all Californians.”

The draft environmental document is available for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) public review through Nov. 1. 

The project section is between 31 and 38 miles long and will connect two key population centers in Los Angeles County, the Antelope Valley and the San Fernando Valley, by linking future multimodal transportation hubs in Palmdale and Burbank. 

The draft environmental document addresses traffic, air quality, noise, vibration and aesthetics, and evaluates the impacts and benefits of six build alternatives: 

  • Refined SR14 
  • SR14A
  • E1 
  • E1A 
  • E2 
  • E2A 

The Preferred Alternative is SR14A Alternative, which would avoid crossing Una Lake and minimizes impacts to nearby wetlands. 

Trains operating on the Preferred Alternative alignment would be fully underground through the community of Acton, the Angeles National Forest, and the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The SR14A Alternative also is underground where it crosses the Pacific Crest Trail, avoiding impacts to the trail. Through the northern portion of the San Fernando Valley, the SR14A Alternative is in a tunnel, emerges near the Hansen Dam Spreading Grounds and then follows the Metrolink/Union Pacific rail alignment almost entirely within the existing corridor to Burbank. 

With the release of this Palmdale-to-Burbank Project Section Draft EIR/EIS, the Authority is on track to complete environmental clearance for the full Phase 1 California High-Speed Rail System from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim by the end of 2024. 

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