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North Carolina Railroad ready to replace outdated bridge

North Carolina Railroad Co. (NCRR) Sept. 25 announced plans to replace a century-old bridge spanning the Neuse River near Kinston, N.C.

The railroad recently awarded Altair Construction Co. the contract for the 10- to 12-month project, which is expected to start in October.

The project includes replacing the current trestle-type structure — which isn't designed to support 315,000-pound rail cars — with a through-plate girder bridge.

NCRR plans to set the track inside and between new steel girders, and remove the current bridge's limiting overhead structure.

The new bridge would enable Norfolk Southern Railway, which operates NCRR's lines under a trackage rights agreement, to offer better service to Morehead City Port, and existing and future customers in eastern North Carolina, said NCRR President Scott Saylor in a prepared statement.

"Heavy or wide rail cars are currently being re-routed around the existing bridge," he said.

The bridge's track will be out of service for about five months, during which time NCRR expects to re-route traffic over NS.

Meanwhile, NCRR plans next year to replace the Highway 54 bridge in a research park in Durham County.

"This structure was built before the park was created, when there was little traffic other than farming vehicles along Highway 54," said Saylor, adding that the project would include realigning track and adding a second track to accommodate Triangle Transit Authority's proposed line.

NCRR owns and manages the 317-mile Morehead City-to-Charlotte line, over which NS daily operates 60 freight trains; Amtrak, eight passenger trains.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/26/2002