Merced to Fresno - Central Valley Wye
The Central Valley Wye serves as the backbone of the high-speed rail system connecting the San Francisco Bay Area to Southern California. The Merced to Fresno project section, where the Central Valley Wye is located, generally parallels State Route 99 through the northern stretch of the San Joaquin Valley from the city of Merced to the city of Fresno. The Central Valley Wye is located near the City of Chowchilla and will serve as the junction for the high-speed rail system connecting San Jose to Fresno, San Jose to Merced, and Merced to Fresno. These connections allow travelers to reach destinations in the direction of San Francisco, Sacramento, and Los Angeles.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) Board of Directors certified the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIR/EIS) for the Merced to Fresno project section in May 2012. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued the Record of Decision in September 2012. At that time, the Board determined that Central Valley Wye alternatives should be further developed and evaluated in a subsequent environmental analysis. Since 2012, the Authority has worked with Central Valley stakeholders and agencies to identify a range of alignment alternatives for the Central Valley Wye. The Authority considered input from stakeholders and regulatory agencies and used it to prepare the Merced to Fresno Project Section: Central Valley Wye Alternatives Supplemental Alternatives Analysis Report in April 2013. This alternatives analysis included an evaluation of 14 alternatives, which were narrowed down to four alternatives. After further consultation with regulatory agencies, the Authority staff refined these alternatives and recommended in August 2014 that three of the four be subject to more detailed evaluation in a Supplemental EIR/EIS.
- Links the Silicon Valley with the Central Valley with dedicated high-speed train tracks in a grade separated and protected corridor
- Provides connections from San Jose to Fresno, San Jose to Merced and Merced to Fresno
In January 2017, the Board of Directors concurred with the staff's recommendation to identify the Road 11 to State Route 152 alternative as the preferred alternative in the Merced to Fresno Central Valley Wye Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS. The selection culminated many years of discussion and engagement with local communities, including Chowchilla and Fairmead, and local citizens and stakeholders.
While Board concurrence does not represent final approval of alignments and/or station locations it does mark the culmination of extensive planning, scientific analysis, and community consultation process.
The Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (Draft SEIR/EIS) was released under CEQA in May 2019 and the public comment period closed on June 20, 2019. The Draft SEIR/EIS will be released for public comment under NEPA in September 2019.
Authority staff have continued to engage with stakeholders and regulatory agencies as part of the environmental process, and through this process an alternative that was previously set aside has emerged as having potential environmental benefits that warrants further consideration. In June 2016, the Board of Directors approved the advancement of additional alignment alternatives to continue the environmental review process.
The four alternatives recommended to be studied and evaluated in the Merced to Fresno Project Section: Central Valley Wye Supplemental EIR/EIS are:
- State Route 152 (North) to Road 13 Wye Alternative
- State Route 152 (North) to Road 19 Wye Alternative
- Avenue 21 to Road 13 Wye Alternative
- State Route 152 (North) to Road 11 Wye Alternative
The Authority is committed to planning and building a premier high-speed rail system that will keep the traveling public and surrounding communities moving and safe. We are working to develop and deliver the program through effective engagements with local communities, a process that involves nourishing long-term relationships with residents, stakeholders and policymakers. The goal is to foster and encourage community engagement throughout the organization in all aspect of construction and operations.
In conducting outreach events, such as Open House and Community Working Group meetings, the Authority informs the public about all aspects of the program, including the presentation of specific project section plans and key milestones contributing to the first phase of the high-speed rail system.
For a listing of upcoming events and outreach opportunities in your area visit the Events page.
The State of California and the federal government both require a proposed infrastructure project to undergo an extensive assessment of the project's potential impacts on the environment - land, air, water, minerals, plants, animals and noise - and proposed actions to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible.
Decisions regarding how and where to build the California high-speed rail system are made and justified by using detailed environmental studies and public comments on the potential environmental impacts of the proposed rail system and routes.
The following links are for conceptual animations of three Wye alignments:
The following documents are available for review upon request. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Merced to Fresno Supplemental Alternatives Analysis Report: Central Valley Wye Alternatives
- Merced to Fresno Project Section: Final EIR/EIS
- Merced to Fresno Project Section: Draft EIR/EIS
- Project Sections & Stations of the Project Sections & Stations interactive map
- Construction Activities of the Construction Activities interactive map
- Economic Impacts of the Economic Impacts interactive map
- California Traditional Tribal Territories of the California Traditional Tribal Territories interactive map