High-Speed Rail

Bridge for high-speed rail opens in Fresno, eight months later than planned

Downtown Fresno bridge finally opens allowing two-way traffic

Cars slowly begin using the Tuolumne Street bridge. The bridge, which is higher than the old bridge to allow for High-Speed Rail to pass below it, is opened Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, eight months later than originally planned. See the grand-opening ce
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Cars slowly begin using the Tuolumne Street bridge. The bridge, which is higher than the old bridge to allow for High-Speed Rail to pass below it, is opened Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, eight months later than originally planned. See the grand-opening ce

It’s about eight months later than originally expected, but the California High-Speed Rail Authority is finally ready to open the new Tuolumne Street railroad overcrossing in downtown Fresno.

A ribbon-cutting event will be at 9 a.m. Friday at the east end of the bridge near Tuolumne and Broadway streets. The bridge spans from Broadway to the east and F street on the west, and will carry drivers over the Union Pacific Railroad freight tracks and the future high-speed rail line.

When motorists can start using the bridge will come a few hours later. The city has to sychronize traffic signals, so the bridge will open to vehicles sometime after noon, officials said.

The old bridge, which was one-way eastbound, was demolished in early 2016 because it did not have enough clearance to accommodate the high-speed trains and the overhead electric lines that will provide power for the trains. The new bridge is higher, and will also carry two-way traffic over the two rail lines. Tuolumne Street is being converted from a one-way street to two-way from E Street, just east of Highway 99, to P Street.

When demolition of the old bridge began, rail officials said they expected the new bridge to be completed by the end of 2016. That came and went as a rainy winter created construction delays. Later, anticipated completion targets in May, June and July slid past. In early July, the California High-Speed Rail Authority acknowledged that the agency and the city of Fresno’s Public Works Department were working with the contractor, Tutor Perini / Zachry / Parsons, to fix problems with the finish of the concrete deck of the bridge before it could be opened.

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