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Palmdale to Burbank Project Section Update

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) continues to advance work to deliver the nation’s first high-speed rail program.  With construction underway in the Central Valley, work to identify the preferred routes in Northern and Southern California is advancing.  The Palmdale to Burbank Project Section is currently in the environmental and engineering study phase and is working toward the release of a draft environmental document in 2017.

Our analyses are being conducted under all applicable environmental laws.  The process commences with establishing project purpose, need and objectives, which then leads to development of a potential set of alternative alignments.  Those alignment alternatives are then evaluated and refined – as information becomes available from technical studies, regulatory agency input, public comment and other analyses – until a reasonable range of alternatives is established.  That range of alternatives is then evaluated fully in the detailed environmental document.

We are now at a point in this process where we can establish a reasonable range of alternatives. Four sets of potential alignment alternatives have been under preliminary study over the past several years. Alignments along the State Route 14 (SR 14) alignment, follow that state highway and then proceeds along San Fernando Boulevard through the communities of Sylmar, San Fernando and Pacoima, among others, before arriving at the planned station at the Burbank Airport.  Additional alignments on the East Corridor – the E1, E2, and E3 routes – are largely subterranean routes under the San Gabriel Mountains.

Refined Set of Palmdale to Burbank Alignment Alternatives

We are pleased to present a set of updated alignment alternatives that have been developed as a result of continued engineering and environmental technical evaluation, including environmental justice issues, as well as ongoing community and regulatory agency input.   The three alignment alternatives that will be carried forward for study in the draft environmental document are:

  • Refined State Route 14
  • Refined E1
  • Refined E2

Specifically, we have refined the alignment alternatives in order to, among other reasons:

  • Reduce and largely avoid environmental justice impacts in the highly-populated communities of Santa Clarita, Sylmar, San Fernando and Pacoima.
  • Reduce impacts in the Santa Clarita area.
  • Improve future high-speed rail operations on all the alignments under study by making them less circuitous, thus allowing for more efficient, quicker service.
  • Improve the constructability of all the alignments under study by decreasing the amount of technically challenging infrastructure.

Refined Palmdale to Burbank Alignment Alternatives

unnamed (16)

(Click image to see larger map)

Supplemental Alternative Analysis Report and Board Meeting in April

These three revised alignment alternatives will be detailed in a Supplemental Alternatives Analysis (SAA) Report on the Palmdale to Burbank Project Section and presented to the Authority Board of Directors at the monthly meeting on April 12, 2016.  This meeting is being held in Anaheim at the Anaheim Convention Center.

The SAA will include details about the three alignment alternatives, and the environmental, technical and feasibility factors that went into these changes.  The SAA will also review how the alignments affect – or avoid impacting – the Angeles National Forest, designated wilderness areas, and the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

Pending concurrence from applicable regulatory agencies, these three alignment alternatives are those that we will move forward for full analysis in the environmental documents to be adopted – after full public review and comment – pursuant to all applicable environmental laws.  The selection of the ultimate alignment will take place when the Board of Directors adopts the final environmental document, a decision currently scheduled for late 2017.

Please visit the Authority website for the latest information on the April Board meeting, including a link to view the meeting online.

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