Aerial Shots of California High Speed Rail Construction Released!

The California High Speed Rail Authority have recently posted aerial shots of the various construction sites that are well underway in the California Central Valley, primarily around Fresno. They tend to post updates on their official Flickr account once or twice a month, but most are taken at ground level. Since the Google Earth satellite images are unfortunately over 2-year old at this point, these new photos, taken last week, provide a unique vantage point. Seeing the action from above, you can really understand the scale of the various bridges, and make sense of how they fit in.

The Cedar Viaduct is probably the most important construction area right now because of the impact it will have. The bridge will take trains over CA-99, which sees around 95,000 vehicles passing by every day. Many people are still unaware that HSR is actually happening, so seeing the bridge take shape will have a large impact.

All photos courtesy of the CA HSR Authority

In downtown Fresno, they’re finally finishing the new Toulumne Street bridge. This bridge will carry cars, bicycles and pedestrians over the right of way. The Stanislaus Street bridge, seen above it, will be demolished because it is not tall enough.


A bit north, they’re tunneling under CA-180 to let the trains go through. The trains will go under the highway, under the freight line, and under the canal.


They’ve also rebuilt CA-99 to create a new right-of-way for the rail line.


Another hugely impact project, in terms of visibility, will be where the rail line crosses over the Union Pacific tracks and then over the San Joaquin River – all right next to busy CA-99. This will be extremely visible to passing motorists.


The wet winter means the bridge over the river has been stalled since December.


Rural drivers will go over the rail line in a new overpass, in Madera.


A bridge almost done over a creek.


And the very first active construction site, a bridge over the Fresno River, is wrapping up.



Wrapping up? Yes, the first construction package was for the heavy stuff in the Fresno area – bridges, tunnels, and viaducts. The train stuff – tracks and wires – are part of another construction package that hasn’t been handed out. The idea is to have the full right of way cleared, prepped, and ready to go, and then the last crew comes in and places the rail quickly and uniformly. 

Once again, check out the photos in the official Flickr account and keep them bookmarked because new photos get uploaded at least every month, and usually more frequently.

4 Replies to “Aerial Shots of California High Speed Rail Construction Released!”

  1. Looking good! I really hope the HSR becomes reality. I think its more important it happens from Fresno to the bay area (SJ and SF) than it going to LA. So it was a good move for them to prioritize the line going north instead of South first. Also seeing an operational line which going North would have been a faster completion date anyways, is crucial to bringing in more interest. Also, LA is not as expensive as the bay area and they have areas in the inland empire that are still affordable. The bay area nearly all of it and anything 1 hour radius are overpriced. It will hopefully help both sides in Fresno and the Bay area in housing and jobs. I believe I read the commute to SJ from Fresno is estimated to be 40-50mins? That is nuts! Considering many drive 2 hours EACH WAY daily in a lot of traffic to and from work from much closer distances. The only benefit I see an SF to LA HSR line fully operational is more for leisure.

    1. I personally would have preferred the connection to LA first, because theres really only one way in or out, through the grapevine. To SF, we can go around via Stockton or across via Gilroy.

      But I think you are correct that this route makes the most sense for time, cost, and ridership.

    1. I hope to see it by the time I'm 45. Hoping to have my parents sell off their old beat up 900 sq ft home in a questionable part of San Jose for $600K which they bought for under $100K back in the day and have them buy a new house when they retire soon somewhere in north Fresno where I hear the nice area is at. I can come by and visit them or they can come visit me comfortably and with ease.

      Heck I might sell my decent 3bed room condo in San Jose which is worth near $700K and buy a new house and build a pool in Fresno if I can commute to my office in downtown SJ in less than an hour. I'll even have money left over to buy a new BMW or mercedes lol.

      I'm actually semi-serious. I just hope the housing stays as low as they are by the time the train is near operational.

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