Greensboro - State transportation officials held ribbon cuttings on Tuesday for the completion of two projects in the Triad area that are part of a statewide railway modernization initiative known as the Piedmont Improvement Program.
"It's exciting to see these projects completed, knowing how it will enhance the safety of our citizens while positively impacting our economy," said N.C. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary for Transit Keith Weatherly. "Both projects will provide safer and more reliable transportation, job growth opportunities and improved cross-state connectivity for rail."
The first project improved the tracks along the North Carolina Railroad corridor between Graham and Haw River, including construction of a siding track that allows trains to pass one another. The addition of siding track will eliminate trains bottlenecking along a 22-mile stretch.
"Expanding access to passenger rail service and improving our rail network are two of the comprehensive goals of Governor McCrory's 25-Year Vision for transportation in North Carolina," said Rail Director Paul Worley. "With this and other design improvements, we will be able to increase train speeds and reduce travel times on this corridor."
The second project eliminated three street-level railroad crossings by building a highway bridge to carry McLeansville Road over the railroad tracks in McLeansville. The project area previously had three roads that crossed over the mainline track and siding track, with trains sometimes waiting in the siding for more than an hour.
The McLeansville project also included a realignment of the intersection of Bethel Church and McLeansville roads that removed a sharp curve on Bethel Church Road.
The Piedmont Improvement Program is designed to modernize railroad track, roads and bridges along the railroad corridor between Raleigh and Charlotte. It is funded primarily through $545 million awarded to North Carolina through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and all projects will be complete by September 2017.