Webuild, Lane sign $16bn contract to build high-speed railway in Texas

Italian construction giant Webuild (formerly Salini Impregilo) and its US subsidiary Lane Construction have signed the final agreement, worth $16bn, to build a high-speed railway between Dallas and Houston in Texas.

It is the final step ahead of financial closure, which Webuild said was "foreseen in the coming months", and the start of work on the mega project, whose total cost with stations has been estimated at $20bn. 

A private railroad developed by Texas Central LLC, the 236-mile line will carry passengers in Japanese Tokaido Shinkansen bullet trains at 200mph, with one stop at Brazos Valley near Texas A&M University, cutting the journey time between the two termini to 90 minutes from around four hours now by road. Texas Central LLC hopes to start commercial operations in 2026.

It targets an estimated 100,000 "super commuters" who travel between the two cities by car and plane every week. Webuild said it would cut greenhouse gas emissions by some 101,000 tons a year.

This contract updates a preliminary design-build agreement signed with Texas Central LLC in 2019, which valued the civil engineering work at $14bn. 

The deal announced today confirms the US as Webuild’s single biggest market, comprising some 35% of the group’s total order backlog.

Webuild said the project would create around 17,000 direct jobs and more than 20,000 indirect ones. An estimated $7.3bn worth of materials from US suppliers across 37 states will be procured, together with services provided by Italian suppliers.

The high-speed railway is one of the single biggest infrastructure projects in the US by value.

The agreement announced today consolidates four years of work by Webuild and Lane to bring the project to the advanced design stage.

Webuild and Lane will oversee the civil engineering works, including tracks, viaducts, and depot buildings.

Much of the railway will be elevated to minimise the impact on residents and landowners along the route.

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Image: A rendering of the Texas Central high-speed railway in operation (Courtesy of Texas Central LLC)

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