The proposed bullet train in California that will link Los Angeles and San Francisco is likely to go over budget and fail to meet proposed deadlines.
Building the railway will require that at least 36 miles of tunnels be established in the mountains north of Los Angeles. The construction will have to deal with several critical fault lines that will make building the tunnels difficult and dangerous.
This process will require extraordinarily large amounts of both money and time, and it will represent the largest tunneling project in the history of the United States.
Officials estimate that the tunnels will be finished by 2022. Additionally, more than 300 miles of tracks, dozens of bridges, high-voltage electrical systems, a maintenance plant, and up to six train stations will have to be constructed.
And this only represents the first stage of the project. At that point, the train will only be able to take passengers between Burbank and Merced.
The entire project, spanning from Los Angeles to San Francisco, is expected to cost $68 billion, but even this staggering price tag is on the low side.
Analyses show that this 2022 estimate and the $68 billion overall budget are both likely to be missed. Experts are saying that the builders are tremendously underestimating the challenges ahead. They say that the tunneling process will be difficult in unprecedented proportions.
Tunneling expert James Monsees says, “It doesn't strike me as realistic. Faults are notorious for causing trouble."
Other experts and geologists weighing in on the matter have been unanimously doubtful of the plan’s current projection of a 2022 completion date. Historically, tunneling projects have been known to fall behind schedule, and none have even come close to the magnitude of this project.
Notably, none of the tunnel experts working on the project were made available for comment.
Meanwhile, the California High-Speed Rail Authority has yet to determine an exact planned route, and it still needs to acquire critical areas of land and receive finance and permit approvals.
Construction for the project began in Fresno last July. This was 2.5 years after the intended date for the building to begin. Already behind schedule, the builders have a very long road ahead.
Additionally, the process is going to become more expensive over time, as inflation will increase the costs of building. This is leading to flaws in previous cost estimates, which are becoming outdated.
Basically, the projections that have been proposed are unrealistic. The railway is likely to receive a large amount of criticism when it is unable to deliver on time and at a cost that is far greater than originally expected.