The California High-Speed Rail Authority recently approved the terms and conditions that bidders will be expected to meet for the first of five sections of the project.

The 29-mile section of the line from east of Madera to the south end of Fresno is expected to cost about $1.5 billion.

Potential contractors are expected to submit bids for the design and construction of the segment in August or September this year, with the contracts being chosen ‘by the end of the year’.

Contracts cannot be awarded until environmental reports have been completed and certified.

This section of the project includes two elevated viaducts, 12 street overcrossings and underpasses, a tunnel and a bridge across the San Joaquin River.

Construction is thought to be starting in 2013.