Texas Central Signs Design-Build Contract with Salini Impregilo
Featured Illustration (above): Concept of the bullet train line that Texas Central proposes to build between Dallas and Houston. Image: Texas Central
By Edmond Ortiz
Dallas (Dallas County)–High-speed train developer Texas Central announced Sept. 13 the signing of a design-build contract with joint venture Salini Impregilo, and its U.S. subsidiary Lane Construction Corp., for the design and construction of the viaduct and embankment sections along the proposed route between Dallas and Houston.
This contract would cover installation of the track system and the alignment and construction of all buildings and services that will house maintenance and other rail system equipment.
Their design-build agreement is the result of their previous work providing front-end engineering and design for the proposed train’s civil infrastructure. Other services included optimizing execution plans, strategies and logistics, as well as conducting analysis to develop construction costs and schedule estimates.
Texas Central officials said the design-build contract is a major step forward in the development of high-speed rail in Texas, a concept that has received its share of controversy and opposition in some quarters.
“This agreement brings us one step closer to beginning construction of the civil infrastructure segments of the project,” said Carlos Aguilar, Texas Central CEO, said in a press release.
“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.”
That gives Texas Central the ability to begin forming regulatory requirements applicable specifically to the design and development of the Dallas-to-Houston high-speed rail line.
Italy-based Salini Impregilo is one of the world’s largest civil engineering contractors. The group has been involved in many infrastructure projects worldwide, ranging from railroads, bridges, motorways and bridges to dams, airports, hydroelectric plans and industrial buildings.
The company has worked has helped to expand the subway systems in New York City and San Francisco. Salini Impregilo has built more than 4,000 miles of railway infrastructure in the Americas, Australia, Europe and Asia. The company is in the early stages of overseeing rail projects in Italy and Turkey.
Connecticut-based Lane has handled more stateside civil projects, including various improvements to Interstate 35 in North and Central Texas, the Texas 360 toll road, tunneling work in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, and a railway extension in North Carolina. Salini Impregilo merged with Lane in 2016.
Salini Impregilo is in the middle of building a 16-mile light rail line between Bethesda and New Carollton, Maryland. Image: Salini Impregilo
The project’s total investment, according to the release, is expected to be $20 billion with the civil works estimated at $14 billion. This would produce an estimated $36 billion in economic benefits statewide over the next 25 years, including the creation of 10,000 jobs yearly during peak construction and 1,500 permanent jobs when the system becomes fully operational.
Texas Central and its partners have pledged to offer “fair and competitive opportunities to bid and participate in building and operating the Texas high-speed train,” the release stated.
Officials with Salini Impregilo called the Texas high-speed train project one of the most important of its kind in the world, linking two major urban centers much like the bullet train lines that connect Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, Paris and Lyon in France, and Tokyo and Osaka in Japan.
Salini Impregilo officials added Dallas and Houston are “at the right distance to guarantee reduced travel times compared to car travel and at extremely competitive prices compared to air travel.”
“We are thrilled and honored to bring our large-scale railway expertise to this unique opportunity,” said Pietro Salini, CEO, Salini Impregilo Group, in a news release. “This inclusion in bringing high-speed train service to Texas and America, through leading the project’s design and construction, is an invaluable experience.”
Edmond Ortiz is a lifelong San Antonian and a 20-plus-year veteran in local journalism, He previously worked full-time at the San Antonio Express-News, and has been freelancing for outlets such as the Rivard Report.