USA: High speed rail promoter Texas Central announced on October 4 that it had appointed Italian civil engineering group Salini Impregilo to lead the civil construction consortium that would build its proposed Houston – Dallas route using Japanese Shinkansen technology.

It has also issued a Limited Notice to Proceed, allowing the design-build partners to start work on ‘the front-end engineering and design’ of the railway infrastructure, as well as undertaking a detailed analysis to determine the likely construction costs and schedule estimates. This work is intended to inform the design-build contract for the civil works, as a precursor to financial close.

Salini Impregilo has built more than 6 000 km of railway in various countries. It works in the North American market through The Lane Construction Corp, which it acquired in 2016. As the leader of the civil construction consortium, Salini Impregilo will be responsible for ‘all work up to the top of the rail’, including viaducts, embankments and drainage.

‘Salini Impregilo’s knowledge and experience in designing, building and leading large scale railway projects across the world is impressive, and its presence in the US market with Lane is also strategic’, said Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar.

‘This is a wonderful opportunity for us’, said Pietro Salini, CEO of Salini Impregilo Group. ‘We are delighted to be invited to take part to bring high speed train service to Texas, as we have in Italy and other countries. It is precisely the kind of large, complex infrastructure project in which we have decades of experience. The United States is now our biggest single market, with a consolidated presence in highways, bridges and tunnels, and we are pursuing the high speed rail sector.’

Texas Central and its partners are currently refining the construction plans and timescales, following the release of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement by the Federal Railroad Administration. It says the final environmental review ‘will help determine the project’s timeline and final route’.