The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $10.9 million contract for a project that will close two dangerous rail crossings near Research Triangle Park, straighten tracks to allow faster train speeds and lift the trains on a new bridge over Hopson Road.
The Fred Smith Co. of Raleigh won the contract to:
• Close the Church Street rail crossing and nearby N.C. 54 intersection. The north end of Church Street will be realigned with Keystone Park Drive, and the north end of Keystone Park drive will be extended to form a new intersection with Hopson Road.
• Realign the N.C. Railroad tracks, pushing them east to flatten a curve that requires trains to slow down now. DOT engineers have said the faster train speeds will cut a minute off the travel time for every Amtrak trip.
• Build a new bridge to lift the tracks over Hopson Road. This eliminates a crossing that has been the scene of fatal crashes.
The work is to be completed by July 2015. The stretch of Hopson between Davis Drive and N.C. 54 is a two-lane road that gets crowded at rush hour. Traffic will be detoured at times during the construction.
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