KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Some of the communities hit hard by flooding in Kings County are set to benefit from two high-speed rail projects that are now complete.
On Wednesday, The California High-Speed Rail Authority announced the completion of two new grade separations in Kings County.
A grade separation is a roadway that is re-aligned over or under a railway, and in this case, traffic is over the future high-speed rail lines.
This means now drivers will now be able to use this Idaho Avenue grade separation and the Dover and 8th Avenues bridge, both just east of State Route 43.
Central Valley Regional Director Toni Tinoco said the two-year project was expedited in order to support the surrounding communities impacted by recent flooding.
"We understand the need to have access for the emergency route and just traffic in general because of the flooding, and we understand that's not over yet," Tinoco said.
These two new over crossings will also help improve safety and travel from east to west of the county.
"Cars don't have to wait for us like they would a traditional freight line - that comes with a lot of different benefits like air quality, reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, and of course safety," Tinoco said.
More than 30 of these overpass structures have already opened in the Central Valley, and six of them are in Kings County, creating hundreds of jobs throughout the region.
Dan Cruz, Deputy Project Director with the rail's contractor Dragados-Flatiron Joint Venture, said he is happy to bring jobs. "We employ currently about 800 employees - that's both craft and staff members," Cruz said.
However, the entire California high-speed rail project has created more than 10,000 construction jobs, most of which go directly to Central Valley residents.
The numerous projects stretch 65 miles from Fresno, Kings, and Tulare Counties.
The billion-dollar high-speed rail has seen many delays -- causing critics to question the viability of the project, but Tinoco said the Authority is excited about the historic train.
"There's high-speed rail all around the world. We have not had the chance to have a system like that right here at home and we are really happy to be able to do that in our own backyard."
The contractor is tasked with completing the design, relocating all utilities like water, sewer, gas, and PG&E, along with the construction of all structures and the high-speed rail guideway.
The total contract is $2.9 billion dollars.
The contractor is expecting to complete a few more structures this year including Kansas and Fargo avenues in Kings County.
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