Project Overview and Purpose
The N.C. Department of Transportation is building a bridge in Charlotte that carries Sugar Creek Road over the North Carolina Railroad tracks – part of the main rail line from Raleigh to Charlotte.
When complete, the project – which also involves improvements to area roadways – will eliminate the risk of train-vehicle collisions, improve safety for both vehicle and rail passengers and reduce traffic delays in the area.
The project will also improve railroad capacity and efficiency along the corridor.
With more than 30 Norfolk Southern freight trains and eight Amtrak trains traveling daily between Raleigh and Charlotte, this corridor is among one of the busiest in the state. Freight train volume is expected to double over the next 20 years and up to 20 total passenger train trips are expected by 2035.
This $43 million project (including construction, right of way acquisition and utilities) is funded by the city of Charlotte, the North Carolina Railroad Co., Norfolk Southern, the Federal Railroad Administration and NCDOT.
Charlotte-based contractor Blythe Development Co. began work on the project in spring 2016, and construction is expected to take approximately two years.
- Building a bridge for Sugar Creek Road to replace the existing highway/railroad
- Realigning North Davidson Street to the intersection of Sugar Creek Road and Redwood Avenue as well as making intersection improvements
- Extending Bearwood Avenue under the new Sugar Creek Road bridge to a new intersection with the realigned North Davidson Street
- Building a new connector road from the existing Greensboro Street/East Sugar Creek Road intersection to Raleigh Street, east of the new Sugar Creek Road bridge
- Permanently closing the existing Craighead Road railroad crossing
- Removing the existing Northmore Street/Sugar Creek intersection
This section of railroad is part of the federally designated Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor, which will connect the northeast and the southeast together by rail. Improvements will allow long-term implementation of the corridor.
During construction, Sugar Creek Road is closed from Greensboro Street to Northmore Street, and a signed detour route directs traffic along Eastway Drive and Tryon Street.
Charlotte's Blue Line Extension
The Sugar Creek grade separation project is under construction in the proximity of another active project by the Charlotte Area Transit System to extend the city's Blue Line light rail.
As a result, the Blue Line train will cross through the project area every six minutes during construction.
Because the Blue Line Extension is also in the rail corridor that the new Sugar Creek Road bridge will be spanning, a station and platform are planned just south of the bridge. Numerous bicycle and pedestrian and aesthetic enhancements have also been incorporated into the design.
Resources for Local Property Owners
Although the N.C. Department of Transportation works to minimize the number of homes and businesses displaced by a road project, it is inevitable, in many cases, that a certain amount of private property is needed. The following information explains right of way acquisition and answers questions about the process.