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The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Monday to mark a North Carolina & Virginia Railroad (NCVA) project, which will improve infrastructure along a 52-mile rail corridor.The $11.6 million project will upgrade infrastructure to enable the railroad to load cars to 286,000 pounds gross weight. Currently, the railroad is operating at 10 mph over much of its line and is only able to load cars to 270,000 pounds gross weight, according to an NCDOT press release.A subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming Inc., the railroad is located at Northampton, Bertie, and Hertford counties, as well as Southampton County, Va. It interchanges with CSX at Boykins, Va., and serves multiple customers. Its largest customer is Nucor Steel, which operates a plate mill at Cofield, N.C.Monday's ceremony, held at Nucor Steel in Hertford County, highlighted how the rail improvements would support industries in the region, state officials said."More than 60 percent of the Nucor plant's annual production ships by rail, which means the upgrading of this line is critical to their operations and their continued ability to compete in today's global market and support the economy of this area," said North Carolina Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson. "Thanks to this project, NCVA will be able to ship heavier loaded rail cars at faster speeds, which is key to serving industries based here and opening the door to new economic opportunities for this region," he added.The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019. The project's cost will be funded through a federal grant from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, the NCVA and state funds.
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