The CHSRA Board voted last week to continue the contract and also agreed to carry forward $US 24m in unused funds from the original $US 199m contract with PB into the new term, taking the total value of the extension to $US 120m.

PB has acted as project manager for CHSRA since 2006 and is assisting the authority in a range of activities including planning, environmental reviews, preliminary engineering, testing, and commissioning. It is also responsible for defining technical standards for the system and procurement of design-build contracts.

Last month CHSRA announced that a California-based joint venture of Tutor Perini, Zachry, and Parsons had been selected as the "best value bidder" for the contract to build the Madera – Fresno section of the 209km Initial Operating Section (IOS) Stage 1 between Bakersfield and Madera, and a contract is expected to be signed within the next few weeks. Construction is due to start later this year with commissioning scheduled for 2017.