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The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has awarded a $24.9 million contract to Crowder Construction Co. to construct railroad roadbed along a 12 mile segment of the North Carolina Railroad Co./Norfolk Southern Railway corridor between Concord and Charlotte, a segment known as "Haydock to Junker."Slated to begin on Aug. 26 and conclude in November 2016, the work is part of a $103.6 million double-track project from Haydock to Junker that includes four grade separations and various safety improvements.A 12.2-mile section of second main track will be replaced on the old roadbed primarily on the west side of the existing track from south of Concord to Charlotte. New crossovers will be constructed and select curves will be realigned to improve passenger train speeds. The double-track section is designed to bolster rail corridor capacity, boost passenger train schedule reliability and improve freight traffic flow.The Haydock-to-Junker work is part of NCDOT's Piedmont Improvement Program (PIP), which includes a series of rail projects designed to improve safety and mobility on the corridor between Raleigh and Charlotte. PIP projects are primarily funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and are scheduled for completion in September 2017.Meanwhile, the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) won an America's Transportation Award in the best use of innovation category for its $28.7 million MRC Railroad Rehabilitation project, which involved upgrades to a line between Mitchell and Rapid City that was in poor condition and required slower train speeds.SDDOT worked with the MRC Regional Rail Authority to upgrade the state-owned line because if a reliable rail system isn't available, grain is shipped by truck, which can cause more wear and tear on the state's roads, according to a press release. The project received a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant.Sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Automobile Association and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, America's Transportation Awards recognize transportation projects that excel in three categories: ahead of schedule, under budget and best use of innovation.