Governor Pat McCrory announces two major intermodal freight projects
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.
Intermodal Hub to Locate in Edgecombe County
Governor Pat McCrory announced that CSX will open a new intermodal terminal in Edgecombe County. Known as the Carolina Connector, this critical infrastructure project will bring jobs and economic opportunity to eastern North Carolina and position the state as a leader in enhanced freight movement. The terminal will transfer containerized cargo between trains and trucks, processing more than 260,000 containers per year initially. The hub will directly employ 149 workers, and estimates indicate its operations will create 1,500 jobs throughout North Carolina.
CSX will invest $160 million in the project. NCDOT will contribute $100 million for track improvements as well as terminal infrastructure through the state's new transportation funding formula, which Governor McCrory championed to take the politics out of transportation planning. The hub is expected to open in 2020, and related track improvements are expected to take two years to construct once all necessary environmental permits are obtained.
Many partners worked together to make this project a reality, including North Carolina's Commerce, Transportation and Revenue departments, as well as the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, Edgecombe County, the Carolinas Gateway Partnership and North Carolina Wesleyan College.
New Direct Intermodal Rail Service to Connect Port of Wilmington and Charlotte
Governor McCrory also announced the debut of the new Queen City Express, an intermodal rail service between the Port of Wilmington and CSX's intermodal terminal in Charlotte. CSX will also eventually provide direct access from the Port of Wilmington to the Carolina Connector intermodal terminal in Edgecombe County.
The Carolina Connector, along with the Queen City Express, will lower transportation costs for businesses while taking trucks off the road. The projects also help fulfill a critical part of the Governor's 25-year vision for transportation by strengthening freight movement throughout the state.
Since one intermodal train can eliminate as many as 280 trucks from the highway, transporting goods by rail will help reduce congestion and wear and tear on the state's highways. Additionally, it will improve safety and air quality.
To further expand the port's capabilities, the State Ports Authority is moving forward with a $100 million investment in infrastructure improvements, including new cranes, an enhanced berth and a wider turning basin, with further expansion on the way. The state budget signed by Governor McCrory includes $70 million over two years for modernization at the state ports. The Port of Wilmington continues to see growth in containers and infrastructure, and earlier this month it welcomed its largest ever containership, the Hanjin Baltimore.