Does anyone else see the lunacy in this? You have a broke state that’s trying to build a massive bullet train system and is over budget…only in America’s big government system where the goofballs think money grows on trees…Is anyone else 100% FED Up! with this bullish*t? I know I am!
The monumental task of building California’s bullet train will require punching 36 miles of tunnels through the geologically complex mountains north of Los Angeles.
Crews will have to cross the tectonic boundary that separates the North American and Pacific plates, boring through a jumble of fractured rock formations and a maze of earthquake faults, some of which are not mapped.
It will be the most ambitious tunneling project in the nation’s history.
State officials say the tunnels will be finished by 2022 — along with 300 miles of track, dozens of bridges or viaducts, high-voltage electrical systems, a maintenance plant and as many as six stations. Doing so will meet a commitment to begin carrying passengers between Burbank and Merced in the first phase of the $68-billion high-speed rail link between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
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However, a Times analysis of project documents, as well as interviews with scientists, engineers and construction experts, indicates that the deadline and budget targets will almost certainly be missed — and that the state has underestimated the challenges ahead, particularly completing the tunneling on time.
“It doesn’t strike me as realistic,” said James Monsees, one of the world’s top tunneling experts and an author of the federal manual on highway tunneling. “Faults are notorious for causing trouble.”
The California High-Speed Rail Authority hasn’t yet chosen an exact route through the mountains. It also is behind schedule on land acquisition, financing and permit approvals, among other crucial tasks, and is facing multiple lawsuits. The first construction began in Fresno in July, 21/2 years behind the target the rail authority had set in early 2012.
A confidential 2013 report by the state’s main project management contractor, New York-based Parsons Brinckerhoff, estimated that the cost of building the first phase from Burbank to Merced had risen 31% to $40 billion. And it projected that the cost of the entire project would rise at least 5%.
Parsons Brinckerhoff briefed state officials on the estimate in October 2013, according to the document obtained by The Times. But the state used a lower cost estimate when it issued its 2014 business plan four months later.
Jeff Morales, the rail authority chief executive, said he was not aware of the Parsons Brinckerhoff projection. A spokeswoman for the authority declined to discuss the differences in the estimates.
Public opinion polls taken over the years have shown that support for the project has ebbed as costs have risen — and at $68 billion, the budget is already more than double the $33-billion estimate made by the rail authority before California voters approved bonds for the project seven years ago.
Via: LA Times