Kern County reaches milestone with California High-Speed Rail construction

July 28, 2022 /

The high-speed rail is being stretched from Shafter to Bakersfield, which is approximately 23 miles. The High-Speed Railway will run along the BNSF railroad coming down to downtown Bakersfield and running down Edison Highway passing Tehachapi all the way to Palmdale.

The Bakersfield construction will begin soon along with some road closures. CEO Brain Kelly stated that the Bakersfield extension is currently under review and approvals are getting completed.

“The advanced design work for the Bakersfield extension or what we call the Locally Generated Alternative (LGA) Request for Qualifications (RFQs) was approved on March 18. We received four statements of qualifications on June 10. The authorities evaluation team has just begun the review of those Statements of Qualification (SOQs) for responsiveness,” said Kelly.

The high-speed rail is set to have a roundtrip of 895 miles from San Francisco to Anaheim which will be electrified to travel at 200 mph. The high-speed rail will connect six out of the 10 largest cities in California, creating more than 8,000 jobs with more than 30 active construction sites.

The renewable-powered train will avoid burning 19.8 gallons of gasoline and 194.6 pounds of coal. The high-speed rail will run 100 percent on renewable energy.

Currently, 380 miles have been cleared for the high-speed rail from San Jose to Palmdale.

“We have this commitment to get operations between Merced and Bakersfield. We have Caltrain electrification construction underway,” said Kelly.

Merced to Bakersfield is 171 miles with a roundtrip of 328 miles, and the path from Merced to Bakersfield is 100 percent environmentally cleared. There are 119 miles under construction and 52 miles are starting advanced design for pre-construction work. Those 52 miles that are in work are starting from Bakersfield and going up north.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has a small business program that will help small businesses be part of the high-speed rail project. The participation in the project includes 30 percent of small businesses, 10 percent of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE), and 3% of Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises (DVBE). Small businesses who wish to be part of building this project can apply here.

Kern County will begin to have some road closures starting with an alley closure between 12th street and Poso Avenue. Upcoming road closures can be checked at: Build HSR California.

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Erica Murillo

Erica Murillo is a project coordinator and reporter at South Kern Sol. She was born in Bakersfield, California, and her origin is from Guanajuato, Mexico. She is a first-generation graduate from California State University, Bakersfield where she earned a degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in English. Murillo's first job was working in the fields picking grapes. She has been able to evolve and continue to grow within her career. She can be reached at