Work to relocate communication lines that are in the way of high-speed rail construction will tie up traffic on McKinley Avenue near Highway 99 for the next three weeks.
Contractors for the California High-Speed Rail Authority will be working to move AT&T utilities along McKinley between the freeway and Golden State Boulevard starting Friday. The rail agency and its prime contractor, Tutor Perini / Zachry / Parsons, estimate the work will take about three weeks.
The road will be subject to alternating lane closures. The work will be taking place between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and there will be traffic control to guide motorists through the area. Pedestrian access will remain open.
Utility relocation work is one of the factors that has helped to drive up the estimated cost of the first 32-mile high-speed rail construction contract in Fresno and Madera counties. In 2013, when the rail authority initially awarded the contract for Construction Package 1, the cost to move AT&T and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. utilities – such as phone and communication lines, power lines and gas pipelines – was projected to cost about $25 million. The latest estimate from the agency, issued earlier this year, is almost $400 million.
McKinley Avenue is one of several major Fresno streets with at-grade crossings of the Union Pacific Railroad freight tracks for which new overpasses or underpasses have been or will be built to carry drivers above or below the new high-speed train tracks as well as the existing freight rails.