Bridge proposed over rails at Winecoff School Road
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Friday, Nov. 01, 2013

Bridge proposed over rails at Winecoff School Road

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LUKAS JOHNSON - ljohnson@charlotteobserver.com
Two designs are being studied for a grade separation that would carry Winecoff School Road over the Norfolk Southern railroad, South Main Street and South Ridge Avenue. The NCDOT will host a public meeting about the proposed project 5-7 p.m. Nov. 4 at Winecoff Elementary School, 375 Winecoff School Road, Concord.
  • Want to go? The N.C. Department of Transportation meeting about the proposed project will be 5-7 p.m. Nov. 4 at Winecoff Elementary School, 375 Winecoff School Road, Concord. Anyone requiring special services should contact Jamille Robbins at 919-707-6085. Interpretive services also are available on request; call 800-481-6494. Details: Call 919-707-6082 or email lwmundt@ncdot.gov.

A recent addition to the I-85 widening project could include a bridge that carries traffic on Winecoff School Road traffic over the railroad tracks.

The N.C. Department of Transportation will host a public meeting about the proposed project from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at Winecoff Elementary School, 375 Winecoff School Road, Concord.

At the meeting, residents can learn about the proposed grade separation that would carry Winecoff School Road traffic over the Norfolk Southern railroad between South Main Street and South Ridge Avenue. Two design alternatives are being studied and will be shown at the meeting.

NCDOT representatives will discuss the bridge addition, which is part of a proposed project to widen more than 13 miles of Interstate 85 from N.C. 73 Exit 55 in Cabarrus County to U.S. 29/601, Exit 68 in Rowan County.

Multiple entities – including the cities of Kannapolis and Concord, Cabarrus County, the Cabarrus and Kannapolis school boards and the Cabarrus-Rowan Metropolitan Planning Organizatin – supported inclusion of the bridge in I-85 improvements, according to NCDOT officials.

Leza Mundt, who works with NCDOT’s Project Development/Environmental Analysis Unit in Raleigh, said the proposed Winecoff School Road grade separation is a late addition to a project to widen I-85 and improve interchanges.

“Widening I-85 will require construction of a new railroad bridge to replace the existing railroad bridge over I-85 between the Ridge Avenue and Main Street bridges,” said Mundt. “The new railroad bridge will be constructed next to the existing bridge so that train traffic is minimally disrupted.”

The bridge project will require realignment of the railroad tracks on each side of the bridge over I-85, which will affect the operation of the Winecoff School Road railroad crossing, said Mundt.

“NCDOT is proposing to construct a bridge over the railroad, as well as Main Street and Ridge Avenue, to mitigate the impact to the crossing,” said Mundt.

Two designs for the project have been developed, said Mundt, and public input from the meeting will help determine the best solution to the crossing problem.

As design work on the I-85 widening progressed, it became apparent that the realigned track would affect the Winecoff School Road crossing over the railroad.

“The new track at the crossing will be higher than it is now and offset from its current location,” said Mundt. “Because the crossing is already quite humped, this will make the crossing difficult, if not impossible, for many vehicles to manage.

“… The bridge would connect Winecoff School Road directly to Mount Olivet Road.”

NCDOT officials considered closing the grade crossing, but local leaders expressed support for a bridge because it maintains connectivity across the railroad in an area with few other crossings, said Mundt.

If approved, the Winecoff School Road bridge will be included in the construction contract, which is scheduled to begin in February. According to preliminary estimates, the new Winecoff School Road bridge will cost roughly $6 million.

To manage costs, the NCDOT proposed that the Ridge Avenue bridge over I-85 not be reconstructed, because the Winecoff School Road bridge will provide similar connectivity.

Connections to both Ridge Avenue and Main Street will be provided by the new bridge.

“NCDOT is interested in hearing how the proposal will affect local travel patterns,” said Mundt. “The proposed alternatives will affect some businesses and residences in the immediate vicinity, so the NCDOT is interested in talking with those property owners about their concerns.”

At the meeting, NCDOT representatives also will answer questions and listen to comments about the project. People are encouraged to submit questions and comments in writing. There will not be a formal presentation.

Johnson: 704-786-2185

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