Construction of the Texas high-speed railway between Dallas and Houston is set to begin. This is after two federal decisions were published on the historic project that will bring a major boost to the economy and create thousands of jobs.
Texas Central LLC, which awarded the design-build contract for the early works to Webuild and Lane in September 2019, received the Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA) from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration that sets the safety requirements for the railway’s signal and trainset control, track rolling stock, operating rules and practices, system qualifications, and maintenance. It also received the Record of Decision (RoD), completing the environmental review process and confirming the alignment that the railway will follow between Dallas and Houston.
The two decisions are a crucial milestone for the start of work on the US $20bn project. An estimated US $14bn of the amount is meant for the civil works which will prove to be very important for Texas, especially in job creation. The railway is forecast to bring an estimated US $36bn in economic benefits during the next 25 years. The immediate impact is estimated to be more than US $10bn in the United States. Construction will lead to the creation of 17,000 direct jobs during the first six years of construction and more than 20,000 indirect jobs.
Civil engineering work
The civil engineering work on the new 379km high-speed railway between Dallas and Houston includes the design and construction of the viaduct and embankment sections along the entire route, the installation of the track system and the alignment and construction of all the buildings and services that will house maintenance and other rail system equipment.
According to Webuild Chief Executive Pietro Salini, this latest achievement, with these two decisions, brings the start of construction a step closer. “Webuild’s unique track record, especially in high-speed rail, will see us apply our expertise to this project that is important for sustainable mobility. As leaders of the design and build work, we are honoured to have been given this unique opportunity to build a high-speed railway in Texas,” he said
The railway will transform mobility between the two cities. It will be based on Central Japan Railway’s Tokaido Shinkansen system, the world’s safest mass transportation system. It will carry travellers between Dallas and Houston – with a stop at Brazos Valley near the Texas A&M University – in 90 minutes, with departures every 30 minutes during peak hours and every hour during off-peak times. It is expected to be 90 minutes faster than car travel and one hour faster than air travel considering boarding times.