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Rail line path will cost Harrisburg $950,000

By Michael Knox
Independent Tribune

HARRISBURG The high-speed rail cutting through Harrisburg will cost the town about $950,000 in order to relocate water and sewer lines to accommodate construction.

As a compromise for the town being impacted by the construction, the N.C. Department of Transportation Rail Division will widen the Roberta Road extension to four lanes from Stallings Road to N.C. 49.

North Carolina statutes state than any town over the size of 5,500 residents is required to pay for any DOT roadwork that requires the movement of utilities outside of their right of way.

“We expressed our concern that this is not (to the) betterment to the town, because the rail basically goes through,” said Mike Rose, Harrisburg town administrator. “DOT’s position was pretty clear that this is our responsibility.”

The design updates stem from the Piedmont Improvement Program, which has the NCDOT modernizing the N.C. Railroad Company rail corridor from Charlotte to Raleigh.

The project is part of a broader rail modernization program, funded with $545 million in federal recovery funds being spent to boost the economy.

There are six ground-level crossings in Harrisburg that will be closed to make way for the high-speed rail line, including Millbrook Road, Caldwell Road, Robinson Church Road, Hickory Ridge Road, Shamrock Road and Pharr Mill Road. The Pharr Mill Road interchange will be relocated with a bridge built to line up the road. Caldwell Road would also be provided a bridge overpass.

Hickory Ridge Road would be closed and replaced with a Roberta Road extension.

The Shamrock Road closing is still under discussion regarding how officials plan to close the crossing to the public, but still allow the industrial park to have access to N.C. 49.

The town of Harrisburg would not have to start paying on the $950,000 until after the construction of the project, which is scheduled to be finished in 2016. The town would then have seven years to pay off the costs.

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