Rail investments; State Budget Bill; Statewide Equipment Operators Roadeo; and provide input on priorities online
Raleigh - The following are highlights from this week at the N.C. Department of Transportation. The below stories are also featured in our weekly newscast, N.C. Transportation Now, which can be viewed by clicking here.
Rail Investments Helping to Fulfill Governor Pat McCrory's 25-Year Vision
Investment in the state's rail infrastructure is a prominent part of Governor Pat McCrory's 25-Year Vision for transportation. State transportation officials this week took part in events at two projects that are helping to fulfill that vision.
First, NCDOT celebrated a significant milestone in its Piedmont Improvement Program, which is investing more than $545 million to improve the heavily traveled rail corridor between Raleigh and Charlotte. The department held a ribbon-cutting in Durham for the Hopson Road Grade Separation Project, which was the first Piedmont Improvement Program project to break ground in 2013.
The project includes a new bridge carrying the tracks over Hopson Road to replace the existing street-level crossing and closes the nearby Church Street crossing. It also features track improvements that will help reduce travel time by allowing passenger trains to pass slower freight trains on parallel tracks.
Transportation and local officials also convened in Charlotte earlier this week to view construction of a similar project that includes a new bridge to carry Sugar Creek Road over the tracks, along with other rail and roadway improvements.
Both of these projects are part of NCDOT's Sealed Corridor initiative, which aims to improve the safety of the rail corridor between Raleigh and Charlotte by eliminating or improving rail-highway street level crossings. Since 1993, more than 85 public and private crossing have been closed along this route.
Governor McCrory Signs State Budget Bill; Includes Funding for Transportation
The state budget bill signed by Governor McCrory this week provides additional investment to improve the state's rail infrastructure, as well as our ferries and general aviation airports.
A comprehensive transportation network is critical to the Governor's efforts to create jobs, grow the economy and improve quality of life for all North Carolinians.
Heavy Equipment Operator Square off at Statewide Equipment Operators Roadeo
The best heavy equipment operators in the department squared off for the department's annual statewide Equipment Operators Roadeo, held on July 12 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. The six individual winners from local roadeos held by each of the department's 14 highway divisions across the state earlier this year showcased their individual skills in heavy equipment operation.
The equipment operators were tested on their skills, including backing up, maneuvering around obstacles, picking up objects, locating safety defects, and other situations which reflect their daily challenges. The event helps NCDOT's workers advance their skills, while emphasizing the importance of safety when operating heavy equipment. Division 4, which includes employees from Edgecombe, Halifax, Johnston, Nash, Wayne and Wilson counties, came in as the defending champion.
The six individual winners and six runners up from this year's event will represent NC Transportation at the Southeastern Regional Roadeo, hosted by Georgia DOT in Savannah Sept. 6 - 8. This competition includes winners from 10 southeastern states.
Let Us Know Your Priorities for the State's Next 10-Year Transportation Plan
There is still time for citizens to provide input on their priorities for the state's next 10-year transportation plan. The public comment period runs through July 22. Each of our local divisions is hosting a public meeting to share information, answer questions and receive feedback from citizens. Citizens do not have to attend a meeting to provide feedback. They can also participate through our quick, interactive online survey, which is available here. Scroll to the bottom of the page, find your local division, and click on the Share Your Thoughts button.