RALEIGH -The N.C. Department of Transportation's Piedmont Improvement Program (PIP) celebrated a major milestone recently with the laying of the first section of track as part of the corridor improvements in Salisbury. PIP is a $520 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project to improve the North Carolina Railroad Company (NCRR) corridor between Raleigh and Charlotte.
"This marks a significant step as we work to build a better railroad," said Rail Division Director Paul Worley. "Ultimately, these projects will make train travel safer and more reliable, while better connecting major economic regions of our state and enhancing opportunities for job growth and commercial development."
The track serves as a temporary rail bypass to allow for construction of a new railroad bridge over Klumac Road in downtown Salisbury. Known as the Klumac Road Grade Separation Project, the new bridge will improve safety and reduce traffic congestion by separating train and vehicle traffic.
The project also involves removing the railroad crossing at Klumac Road and constructing a half-mile of the road on new location to tie in to the intersection of Mooresville Road and South Main Street. Construction on the project began in May 2013, and is expected to be completed in October 2016.
Grading work in preparation of laying new track is currently underway at seven other locations along NCRR's Raleigh-Charlotte rail corridor, which is operated by Norfolk Southern and hosts 10 daily Amtrak trains. In total, PIP involves approximately 20 projects along the corridor that will be completed by the fall of 2017.
NCRR has committed $44 million to fund the corridor improvement projects. NCRR's funds are derived from its trackage rights agreement with Norfolk Southern, which operates its freight line on the NCRR. Currently, 50 freight trains and 10 passenger trains travel on the NCRR every day.
"The North Carolina Railroad's partnership with NCDOT is key to developing the unique railroad assets for the good of the people of our state," said NCRR president Scott Saylor.
Road Grade Separation