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Feds pledge $10 million to help eliminate North Raleigh railroad crossings

A train goes over a railroad bridge over Hopson Road in Research Triangle Park in this file photo from February 2016. The old tracks were at road level. The N.C. Department of Transportation plans to eliminate several railroad crossings in North Raleigh as well, including those at Durant and New Hope Church roads starting later this year.
A train goes over a railroad bridge over Hopson Road in Research Triangle Park in this file photo from February 2016. The old tracks were at road level. The N.C. Department of Transportation plans to eliminate several railroad crossings in North Raleigh as well, including those at Durant and New Hope Church roads starting later this year.

The federal government said Friday that it will provide up to $10 million to help the state build bridges to eliminate railroad crossings in North Raleigh.

The N.C. Department of Transportation plans to replace crossings with bridges along the CSX rail line between the Beltline and Wake Forest, as part of a long-term plan to prepare the rail corridor for high-speed passenger trains between Raleigh and Richmond, Va. Eliminating the crossings will also improve safety and the flow of traffic.

NCDOT expects to award construction contracts this year for bridges that would carry Durant and New Hope Church roads over the CSX tracks. A third project, to build a railroad bridge to carry the tracks over Millbrook Road, is scheduled to get underway in late 2021.

Altogether, the three bridges are expected to cost $49.5 million. The rest of the money will come from the state and CSX Corp.

NCDOT has been working for years to eliminate crossings along the busy rail corridor between Raleigh and Charlotte. In the Triangle, crossings at Hopson Road and Morrisville Parkway have been replaced by bridges, and additional bridges are planned for Cornwallis Road in Durham, McCrimmon Parkway in Morrisville, Maynard Road in Cary and Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh.

The CSX line in North Raleigh is far less busy now, but state transportation boards in North Carolina and Virginia have endorsed the idea of establishing rail service capable of up to 110 mph between Raleigh and Richmond. CSX owns and operates the rails from Raleigh to Norlina, near the Virginia line, but from there the tracks would have to be rebuilt north to near Petersburg, Va.

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Richard Stradling covers transportation for The News & Observer. Planes, trains and automobiles, plus ferries, bicycles, scooters and just plain walking. Also, #census2020. He’s been a reporter or editor for 32 years, including the last 19 at The N&O. 919-829-4739, rstradling@newsobserver.com.


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