After six months of work, construction crews this week began placing the first girders on the new Tuolumne Street Bridge that will soon carry two-way traffic travelling to and from downtown Fresno. The new bridge is being constructed to make way for the estimated $70 billion California High-Speed Rail project. The placement of the girders signifies the midway point of construction for the bridge.

In total, the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Construction Package 1 (CP 1) design-build contractor Tutor-Perini/Zachry/Parsons (TPZP) will place 42 girders at the rate of seven girders a day, say project officials. The girders are 149-ft-long and weigh more than 166,200 pounds or approximately 83 tons. Construction on the bridge is ahead of schedule and is scheduled to be complete this fall.

On January 4, 2016, construction crews began the demolition of the one-way bridge that previously had clearance for Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR). Construction of the new, higher bridge will accommodate UPRR, as well as the high-speed rail line with its electrical lines, and also create two-way traffic patterns on Tuolumne Street between E and P streets. After constructing the new two-way bridge, crews will then also demolition the nearby Stanislaus Street bridge, which is also one-way structure.

Construction of the Tuolumne Street Bridge is part of the high-speed rail's Construction Package 1 (CP 1), a roughly $296-million, 29-mile stretch between Avenue 17 in Madera County to East American Avenue in Fresno County. This package includes 12 grade separations, 2 viaducts, 1 tunnel and a major river crossing over the San Joaquin River. Current pre-construction activities are underway and significant construction is anticipated to begin in the next few weeks, wrapping up in 2017. The California-based joint venture of PGH Wong Engineering, Inc., and Harris & Associate (Wong+Harris) is serving as project and construction manager on CP1.

In other California High-Speed Rail Project news, the rail authority announced this week that a pre-bid conference for Request for Qualifications for geotechnical site investigation services for the Silicon Valley to Central Valley Line RFQ No. HSR 15-172, will be held on Wednesday, June 29, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Department of General Services Ziggurat Building in West Sacramento.

The RFQ is for a three-year contract that will ultimately be awarded to the most qualified offeror at "fair and reasonable compensation with a not-to-exceed amount of $28 million." The estimate covers work along approximately 113 miles from San Jose to Gilroy, through the Pacheco Pass into the San Joaquin Valley to Madera.

The scope of work includes drilling, trenching, laboratory and field testing, geophysical surveys and associated permits, traffic control, spoils handling, hazardous materials assessments, seismic analysis, assessment of tunneling conditions, foundations analysis, water table analysis, slope stabilization, subsurface investigation plan, and preparation of geotechnical data and fault crossing displacement reports.