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The North Carolina Department of Transportation's (NCDOT) Rail Division wrapped up 2016 by noting several achievements in advancing rail transportation, including the announcement that CSX would open a major container shipping hub in Edgecombe County.In July 2016, state officials and CSX announced the Class I would open an intermodal terminal to be known as the Carolina Connector, which state officials described as a critical infrastructure project to enhance North Carolina's position as a leader in the movement of freight.Also in July, state officials 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. Eventually, CSX also will provide direct access from the Port of Wilmington to the Carolina Connector terminal. The Queen City Express project is estimated to eliminate as many as 280 trucks from highways.Additionally, all of the Piedmont Improvement Program's track and bridge construction projects were underway as of 2016. Projects were completed in Alamance, Cabarrus, Durham, Guilford, Mecklenburg and Wake counties. To complete the work, the NCDOT partnered with the North Carolina Railroad Co., which owns the Raleigh to Charlotte railroad corridor, and Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX, which are performing the track construction.The Piedmont program projects are largely funded through a $546.5 million federal stimulus grant the state received in 2010. The Piedmont projects enable the closure of 23 public railroad crossings and 22 private crossings, which will eliminate the potential for train and motor vehicle collisions."These improvements will ensure more opportunities for businesses and our freight partners," said NCDOT Rail Division Director Paul Worley in a press release. "Safety and efficiency on the tracks allow freight railroads to get more goods to communities in our state to bring about job growth and economic development."All Piedmont projects are slated for completion by fall.
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