A freight train slowly descends in the Tehachapi Mountains, near the route California's bullet train will eventually take. A year has been added to construction of the first leg of the high-speed rail system.

A freight train slowly descends in the Tehachapi Mountains, near the route California's bullet train will eventually take. A year has been added to construction of the first leg of the high-speed rail system. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times / November 16, 2012)

The California High-Speed Rail Authority said Thursday that it was adding 12 months to the construction schedule for 130 miles of track in the Central Valley, easing what some outside experts have contended was an overly aggressive and risky timeline.

Jeff Morales, chief executive of the authority, said the revised schedule would have the track completed by December 2017 rather than a year earlier as set under the agency's contracting documents. The new timetable will allow contractors to use less overtime and other practices that were expected under the accelerated plan in place earlier, Morales said.

"We are going to get lower bids, save some money and still meet all of our deadlines," he said. "It is a good business move."

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