California High-Speed Rail Authority in the US has presented the draft environmental document for the Palmdale-Burbank section, spanning over 30 miles, in Southern California.

This Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) can be accessed for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) public review through 1 November, stated the authority.

The project section, which is between 31 and 38 miles long, will link two crucial population centres in Los Angeles County – the Antelope Valley and San Fernando Valley.

To address traffic, air quality, noise, vibration, and aesthetics, the draft environmental document will assess the impacts and benefits of six build alternatives such as refined SR14, SR14A, E1, E1A, E2, and E2A.

SR14A is the preferred alternative that is expected to help avoid crossing Una Lake and reduce impacts on nearby wetlands.

Trains operating on the preferred alternative alignment will be completely underground via the community of Acton, the Angeles National Forest, and the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

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To avoid impacts on the rail, the underground SR14A alternative crosses the Pacific Crest Trail.

Furthermore, the SR14A Alternative is in a tunnel through the northern portion of the San Fernando Valley.

It will again emerge near the Hansen Dam Spreading Grounds and then follows the Metrolink/Union Pacific rail alignment within the existing corridor to Burbank.

The authority is on track to conclude environmental approval for the full Phase 1 California High-Speed Rail System from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim by the end of 2024 with the release of this Palmdale to Burbank Project Section Draft EIR/EIS.

Southern California regional director LaDonna DiCamillo said: “We have environmentally cleared 422 of the 500-mile Phase 1 system between the Bay Area and Los Angeles/Anaheim.

“We look forward to hearing from residents and stakeholders during this public comment phase as we work to deliver a clean, fast, and safe transportation network for all Californians.”