High Speed Rail bridge being built in Valley

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- We're seeing our first signs of construction for the California High Speed Rail project. The starting point for the $68 billion project is located just east of Madera.

Heavy machinery and crews have moved into place along Highway 145 and the Fresno River bed in Madera County.

An update by High Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales was delayed by the blaring horn of a train.

Morales explained, "We have a slow train coming by."

17 large rebar columns will be placed into the ground as part of the project's first permanent structure.

Morales said, "So far we've done the work you have to do to prepare for construction. This is the first time people can look and see something and say okay that's high speed rail. That's what it's going to mean."

In a year a 25 foot high bridge 1500 feet in length will be in place.

Design and Construction manager Hugo Mejia said it will link Raymond Road and Watson Street parallel to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks.

Mejia said, "We just want to show all California this is a reality. We're constructing. We're going to be moving on to other areas as we acquire properties."

High speed rail has remained a hot topic of debate but the project is moving forward. This is the first of a half dozen projects you will see this summer.

Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea said, "We're going to think back and remember this day and know we were part of history."

The Fresno River viaduct is a small part of a 29 mile stretch linking Avenue 17 in Madera County to American Avenue in Fresno County.

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