Lane Construction, a subsidiary of Italian contractor Salini Impregilo, has been chosen to design and build a high-speed rail link between Houston and Dallas. The total value of the project is put at $20bn, with $14bn of that attributed to civil engineering.
Lane was named on Friday, 13 September, by Texas Central, the private company that is developing the 390km railway between two of the state’s three largest cities. The scope will include the design and construction of viaducts and track systems, a new station for Houston, and an intermediate stop at the Brazos Valley between College Station and Huntsville.
The announcement came a week after Texas Central said the Federal Railroad Administration had granted its petition for a Rule of Particular Applicability – a set of rules and procedures tailored to the needs of the railway.
Carlos Aguilar, the chief executive of Texas Central, said in a press statement: "This agreement brings us one step closer to beginning construction of the civil infrastructure segments of the project.
"Salini-Lane’s unmatched track record with rail infrastructure, and very specifically its world-class high-speed rail expertise across the globe, will be central to the completion of America’s first end-to-end high-speed rail system."
Salini Impregilo has done business in more than 50 countries on five continents, having built more than 4,000 miles of railway infrastructure in the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.
The Texas train will be based on Central Japan Railway’s Tokaido Shinkansen system, which it claims is the world’s safest mass transportation system, having "moved more than 10 billion passengers over 54 years with no fatalities or injuries from operations".
The Texas system will use the Shinkansen N700S, the sixth generation of this train, which is due to be launched for the 2020 Olympics.
Salini Impregilo partnered with Texas Central last year to work on front-end engineering, performing analyses to cut construction costs. Texas Central said that work helped it to develop the design-build contract.
Texas Central hopes to begin construction in 2020 and have the train running by 2026. When the system is complete, the train will travel more than 320km/h and take passengers between Houston and Dallas in the span of about 90 minutes, with trains departing every 30 minutes.
Image: Render of the planned high-speed railway between Houston and North Texas, near Dallas (texascentral.com)