by Keri Allan
08 Sep 2022
The California High-Speed Rail Authority has released the draft environmental impact report/environmental impact statement (EIR/EIS) for the Palmdale to Burbank section of the high-speed rail project in Southern California.
This follows on from the release of the final (EIR/EIS) for the San Francisco to San Jose section in June.
Over 30 miles long, the Palmdale to Burbank section will connect highly populated regions in Los Angeles County, the Antelope Valley and San Fernando Valley by linking future multimodal transportation hubs in Palmdale and Burbank.
With the release of this draft EIR/EIS, the Authority is on track to complete environmental clearance for the full Phase 1 California High-Speed Rail System from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim before the end of 2024.
Available for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) public review between now and 1 November, the new document addresses traffic, air quality, noise, vibration and aesthetics, and evaluates the impacts and benefits of six build alternatives.
The preferred alternative, SR14A, would avoid crossing Una Lake and would minimise any impact on nearby wetlands by having trains operate fully underground through Acton, the Angeles National Forest and the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.
The route also goes underground where it crosses the Pacific Crest Trail and through a tunnel when travelling across the northern portion of the San Fernando Valley, emerging near the Hansen Dam Spreading Grounds.
It will then follow the Metrolink/Union Pacific rail alignment almost entirely within the existing corridor to Burbank.
During the public review period, the Authority is also holding a virtual open house and public hearing.
The open house will enable attendees to get an overview of the environmental document and ask questions, while the public hearing will provide an opportunity for attendees to submit comments on the draft EIR/EIS.
“The release of this draft environmental document underscores the momentum taking place with this transformational project.
“We have environmentally cleared 422 of the 500-mile Phase 1 system between the Bay Area and Los Angeles/Anaheim.
“We look forward to hearing from residents and stakeholders during this public comment phase as we work to deliver a clean, fast and safe transportation network for all Californians.”
The final EIR/EIS for this section is expected to be presented to the Authority Board of Directors next year.
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