$520M Raleigh-Charlotte Rail Line Improvements On Track For 2017

Jul 15, 2016

The state is expanding track capacity on the rail line connecting Raleigh and Charlotte. It's part of the Piedmont Improvement Project, which received $520 million dollars in federal funding.

Traffic congestion is a serious problem in the tenth most populous state and increasing the number of rail cars will offer a reliable option for North Carolina's rapidly growing population, according to North Carolina Rail Division Director Paul Worley.

"I never like to say that a service is going to reduce traffic on the road," said Worley. "But what it's going to do, it's going give additional capacity and options for people who want to travel. Because there'll be more people, and they'll need a way to get around."

Worley said the train is a popular option among business people, millennials and elderly passengers.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is also adding bridges and underpasses to eliminate dangerous street-level train crossings and cut down on collisions.

Piedmont Improvement Project map
Credit NCDOT / NCDOT

Worley said NCDOT is managing construction itself.

"We haven't done that before. We build highways. And so, it's gone surprisingly well." Worley said. "I've been real pleased that our staff and our engineers and our consultants and contractors have really stepped up and been able to show that they can build other kinds of projects, which bodes well for future work in the state."

Worley says the Piedmont Improvement Project is on track for completion before the September 2017 deadline.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has until September 2017 to complete the project.