The study is for the purposed route through Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh
Ohio officials announced Virgin Hyperloop One will be included in an Environmental Impact Report, required for the Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh Route.
An Environmental Impact Report is a federally required study to proceed with a Transportation and Infrastructure Project in the US.
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) announced that this study will be part of its Rapid-Speed Transportation Initiative (RSTI).
The report will include both a feasibility and environmental impact study (EIS) to explore intercity routes that could utilise two rapid-speed transportation technology options – traditional passenger rail or Virgin Hyperloop One technology - between Chicago, Columbus, and Pittsburgh.
William Murdock, Executive Director of MORPC said: “MORPC and its public and private partners in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania are excited to take this important next step in moving innovative transportation technology forward in Central Ohio and across the Midwest.”
“This is the first route in the world that incorporates hyperloop technology into both a feasibility study and an environmental impact study. Adding AECOM and WSP to the RSTI team demonstrates our commitment to this effort.”
Virgin Hyperloop One, sponsors of the global challenge, is the only company in the world to have a built a full-scale hyperloop.
Midwest Connect, spearheaded by MORPC and other regional partners, was one of 10 global winners of the Virgin Hyperloop One Global Challenge.
It was the only route selected in the United States to cross over four states; Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
The Midwest Connect was also the first in the U.S. to focus on leveraging major freight assets in the Midwest, which is the epicenter of freight movement in North America.
Phase 1: Hyperloop Feasibility Study
The first phase will see AECOM, a design, engineering, construction, and management firm, conduct the feasibility study of hyperloop technology for the corridor. The firm will build upon the work already completed and submitted by MORPC to Virgin Hyperloop One as part of its "Global Challenge" competition last year.
The study will include visioning and technology application, route planning, transportation demand and economic benefit analysis, regulatory framework and implementation strategy, project management, and stakeholder and public engagement.
The study will also include two potential route alignments for evaluation. One option follows the rail corridor featured in the original Midwest Connect corridor proposal; the other is an alternative to be defined as part of the study work. At minimum, the potential routes will include the following cities: Chicago, Fort Wayne, Lima, Marysville, Columbus and Pittsburgh. The study is expected to be completed by March 2019.
Phase 2: Environmental Impact Study (EIS) of the Corridor
For the second phase of the initiative, WSP USA, a professional engineering firm, will conduct Tier One of the environmental impact study (EIS) of the corridor.
The study complements and incorporates work for the corridor portion between Chicago, Fort Wayne and Lima currently underway by the Indiana corridor partners that includes the city of Fort Wayne in collaboration with the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association.
The Columbus to Chicago Passenger Rail project began as an effort to study passenger rail and identify investment needs to improve freight flows and freight rail congestion between Chicago and Columbus.
The project has since evolved to include Pittsburgh in the corridor and expand the scope of study to include other high-speed transportation options that are available, such as hyperloop.
The EIS is expected to be completed in July 2019, and the study will collect data, document existing conditions, prepare a purpose and need statement, provide route alternatives and service alternatives for proposed routes, and evaluate infrastructure investments.
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