The California bullet train will be a $68-billion wonder of the world once it figures out the small problem of how exactly to get the trains out of Los Angeles. The High Speed Rail Authority has had trouble finding a route from Burbank to Palmdale that doesn't ruffle feathers. In response to the intense public outcry over the 14 Freeway route, the Rail Authority announced last year it was looking into a possible tunnel option to cut through the San Gabriel Mountains, too, and they've since identified three potential routes for that tunnel. Now, the rail authority has asked the U.S. Forest Service for permission to conduct a few drilling tests in the northwest part of the Angeles National Forest to determine which of the tunnel routes are most feasible, reports the San Gabriel Valley Times.
The original plan was to build the train route up along the 14 Freeway, but a host of nearby residents from Pacoima to Acton, many freaked out about a high-walled train corridor cutting through their towns. Angry citizens in San Fernando even interrupted an informational meeting in on the rail project to protest it's dangers to the local economy and the "death wall" that would split the town in two along the route.
All three potential tunnel routes would still cut through Burbank, but largely sidestep many communities that were upset by the 14 Freeway Corridor debacle. To see if any of the tunnels can even happen, the rail authority is looking to dig at up to eight locations the Angeles National Forest in order to eventually complete an environmental impact report on the project. They'd go between 900 feet to 2,500 feet below the surface (on "existing forest roads") to check on soil and water content of the land as well as the location of any earthquake faults. If they get the ok to dig, the rail authority hopes to complete testing and prepare the environmental report by the middle of 2016.
Concerned citizens who don't want the rail authority digging around in the Angeles will have their chance to voice their concerns about the tunnels with the U.S. Forest Service: "In what only can be described as an unusual process," the USFS has decided to open up to public input on whether or not the preliminary drilling should be allowed. (Any complaints or issues with the test-drilling and the feasibility study can be sent to Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
· High-Speed Rail Authority asks permission to drill under Angeles National Forest [San Gabriel Valley Tribune]
·San Fernando Valley's cowboy country braces for a bullet train [LA Daily News]
· Fly Over Four Options For the Bullet Train's Route From Burbank to Palmdale [Curbed LA]
·LA Bullet Train Could Run in Tunnel Under the San Gabriels [Curbed LA]