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HSR Train

An artistic rendition of a high-speed train in the Central Valley.

HANFORD — The California High-Speed Rail Authority announced new construction work in Kings County will begin Monday and includes overpass, embankment, utilities and bridge construction at Kent Avenue and Kansas Avenue, between State Route 43 and 9 ½ Avenue.

Work is scheduled to continue through 2018. Signs are to direct traffic and pedestrian access will also be restricted. Toni Tinoco, a spokeswoman for the High Speed Rail Authority, said specifically the work that will be done will be to create the overpasses across Kent and Kansas avenues.

The entire high-speed rail project is grade separated, meaning the flow of traffic will not be disrupted and railroad crossings will not be necessary.

Tinoco said there will be a lot of utility relocation and embankment construction work during this phase, so motorists can mostly expect to see trucks hauling dirt and a lot of movement. She said most of the work will be on the side of the road, not directly on the road.

“People won’t see any road closures during this phase of work,” Tinoco said.

Traffic laws will be fully enforced and commuters are expected to be aware of the surrounding activities, remain alert and watch for construction vehicles and personnel. The public is asked to drive carefully and be extra cautious while traveling though the construction areas.

Prior to this work, the most visible sign of high-speed rail activity in Kings County had been the demolition last year of several homes on Ponderosa Street off East Lacey Boulevard east of Hanford. Most of the construction work so far has been centered in the Fresno area.

The work is part of what is known as Construction Package 2-3, which is the 65-mile stretch of high-speed rail between East American Avenue in Fresno County and one-mile north of the Tulare-Kern County line.

The construction package will include approximately 36 grade separations in the counties of Fresno, Tulare and Kings, including viaducts, underpasses and overpasses.

The rail authority website says Construction Package 2-3 started with work on Sept. 18 in Fresno County from Jefferson Avenue to South Avenue, between Cedar and Maple avenues, and will also include work in Tulare County on Avenue 88 at State Route 43 starting on Monday as well.

The schedule of construction work is tentative, but Tinoco said the rail authority expects this phase of work to be complete sometime in mid-2018.

As for how the rest of the project is going, Tinoco said the rail authority has 13 construction sites north of Hanford up through Madera County. She said the work in Hanford will gradually progress to look like the work Fresno is currently undergoing.

According to the High-Speed Rail Authority website, the high-speed rail station in the Kings/Tulare area will eventually be located near the intersection of Highways 198 and 43.

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News Reporter

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