RALEIGH – The Rail Division of the N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded an additional $10 million for the Freight Rail and Rail Crossing Safety Improvement program for fiscal year 2017. State officials accelerated the project selection process because several of the ranked projects involve railroads damaged by flooding from Hurricane Matthew.
“These investments will enhance safety and improve rail infrastructure connections to economic development opportunities,” Rail Director Paul Worley said. “Both of these priorities satisfy goals outlined in Governor McCrory’s 25-Year Vision for Transportation in North Carolina.”
The Freight Rail and Rail Crossing Safety Improvement program was established by legislation signed into law by Governor McCrory in 2013. The newly-approved funding brings the total program amount to $13.75 million for the year.
Four shortline improvement projects were selected for funding, with half of the cost coming from state funds and the other half from private investment:
$1.7 million to upgrade bridges in Wake, Nash, Wilson and Beaufort counties and to replace more than 10,000 crossties over 31 miles of track in Wake, Johnston, Nash and Wilson counties. Other elements of this project include rail roadbed and crosstie replacement to accommodate heavier railcars in key areas;
$7.3 million to return a section of railroad to service in Columbus County between Chadbourn and Whiteville, as well as other track upgrades from Chadbourn to Tabor City and into South Carolina to connect the line to the national rail system;
$725,000 to replace five culverts and harden the railroad over 29 miles in Currituck, Camden and Pasquotank counties; and
$393,594 to build a new truck/train transload facility in Hoke County, and to replace crossties and harden the railroad for eight miles in Cumberland and Hoke counties.
Officials also approved $1 million for a safety improvement project in Salisbury. The project will accelerate the elimination of a highway/rail at-grade crossing at Henderson Grove Church Road by developing the right-of-way plans for a more efficient access roadway to Julian Road.