California high-speed rail issues new traffic message

Brightline West has announced new locations for field investigation work being conducted amid construction of a planned high-speed rail line in California and Nevada.

Motorists were warned to “proceed with extra caution” while traveling in the area of the new investigational sites in Southern California and Nevada in an update shared by the company on Tuesday. The 218-mile route, which officially broke ground in April, is planned to run from Rancho Cucamonga, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada, alongside Interstate 15.

Brightline West said that work at the investigational sites would “take place primarily during daytime hours, with some work at night to minimize disruption to traffic,” with “short term closures of freeway shoulders” required “in some instances.” Land surveying, geotechnical borings and samplings are expected to be conducted at the investigational sites this week.

Closures of the interstate are expected between Friday at 9 p.m. and Saturday at 6 a.m. at a new California site located at I-15’s point of entry to Halloran Road. Work at the other new California site, located on I-15 from Oak Hill Road to Foot Hill Boulevard, will take place from Tuesday to Friday, with some “night closures” expected “in the center median and shoulders.”

Workers are pictured holding signs touting Brightline West’s planned high-speed rail line from Southern California to Las Vegas at a station groundbreaking ceremony in Nevada on April 22, 2024. The company announced three updated investigational…

Ethan Miller

Work will also be taking place on I-15 in Primm, Nevada, at milepost 5-12.5 from Tuesday to Friday morning. The company said that “dates and times are subject to change,” with the operation being “weather dependent.” It was unclear whether any work was planned at the sites beyond this week.

Newsweek reached out for comment to Brightline West via email on Tuesday night.

The rail line from Southern California to Las Vegas is expected to open in 2028 when the Summer Olympics are set to take place in Los Angeles. Brightline West says the route will be the country’s “first true high-speed passenger rail system,” with trains capable of traveling up to 200 mph, comparable to Japan’s famous bullet trains.

While current construction plans only include stations in Rancho Cucamonga, Las Vegas and Victor Valley, California, the line may be expanded in the future. The station in Rancho Cucamonga, which is located in Southern California’s Inland Empire area, currently links to a commuter rail service that extends to Los Angeles.

Brightline trains are already operating in Florida, with a high-speed line that connects Miami and Orlando. The Florida trains have a maximum speed of 125 mph—considerably faster than the majority of Amtrak passenger trains but slower than the national railway service’s Acela trains, which are capable of reaching 150 mph in a limited area of the Northeast.

Plans for U.S. high-speed rail lines have become more frequent in recent years. Additional lines are proposed in other areas of California, Texas and the southeast. In December, the Biden administration announced over $8 billion in funding for passenger rail services that include “the first world-class, high-speed rail projects in our country’s history.”