Ground has been broken in Madera for more than a week as part of work on the first section of California’s high-speed rail project, but the high-profile ceremonies that usually accompany such events are, much like construction of the rail itself, likely a long ways away.
The lack of pomp Wednesday, at least, was probably because the five-member crew alongside Avenue 15 1/2 near Road 29 wasn’t building anything. They instead bored into the earth for soil samples that will be used to design one of at least eight overpasses across the rail’s proposed path through Madera.
“Though this isn’t an official groundbreaking, things are definitely progressing,” said Elizabeth Jonasson, spokeswoman for the California High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA). “You can see people working these jobs, which is part of the project’s economic development. It’s not flashy, but it’s progress.”
The soil boring — a process involving drilling up-to-100-foot holes and taking samples — will take place at locations on eight separate avenues from 7 to 15 1/2 over the course of several weeks...