California High Speed Train: Construction Package 1 (Merced to Fresno)

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The California High Speed Rail Authority (Authority) is planning, designing, building, and operating the first high-speed rail system in the nation. When completed, the system will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours at speeds capable of over 200 miles per hour, and will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 800 miles with up to 24 stations. The first segments undergoing construction are in the Central Valley, including the Merced to Fresno and Fresno to Bakersfield segments. 
 
ESA is part of the design build team of Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons (TPZP) providing biological and archaeological surveying, monitoring, and reporting services to construct the first segment of the project, Construction Package 1 (Merced to Fresno). ESA is also providing on-call environmental services to the Authority for the next segments to be constructed from Fresno to Bakersfield, including regulatory permitting, archaeological surveys, and CEQA/NEPA services. We are on the frontline, collaborating with TPZP and the Authority to solve many complex and unique environmental challenges, including ensuring and documenting mitigation compliance, processing permit amendments due to design changes, and using real-time data collection and GIS mapping as part of the compliance process.  
 
Spanning such a large region, there are many biological and archaeological resource issues to address, including:
Vernal pool and seasonal wetland habitats
Protected species, such as the California tiger salamander, San Joaquin kit fox, Swainson’s hawk, burrowing owl, Buena Vista Lake ornate shrew, and rare plants
Crossings of the San Joaquin and Fresno Rivers
Historical and archaeological resources in downtown Fresno 
compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (Built Environment Treatment Plan and Archaeological Treatment Plan)
Permit amendments during the design-build process to address design refinements
 
ESA addresses these challenging objectives by implementing a data collection system using tablet devices and geospatial software to track habitat disturbances as they occur, reporting directly into an online database for tracking mitigation compliance, as well as working closely with the Authority and design build contractors to find ways to minimize potential impacts. The result is a more collaborative approach to implementing one of the state’s most complex construction projects, while ensuring environmental compliance occurs in an efficient, timely fashion.
 

Specialized Services

  • Archaeological testing and evaluation
  • Biological assessments
  • Cultural resources management plans
  • Habitat evaluations
  • Historic resources assessment and management
  • Monitoring
  • Noise monitoring systems design
  • Permitting assistance
  • Special status species surveys and inventories

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