Federal grant dollars on the way for Wilmington rail realignment project

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Railroad tracks (Photo: Red, White, and Black eyes Forever / Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The path to removing and realigning rail lines in Wilmington has caught the attention of Washington D.C. for the positive.

The City of Wilmington has been awarded a grant from the Federal Railway Administration. This was a Consolidated Railroad Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) grant according to Wilmington Rail Realignment Project coordinator Laura Padgett.

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“These investments in intercity passenger and freight rail will benefit surrounding communities, make grade crossings safer and improve service reliability,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The total amount granted will be $2,760,000.00 with $2 million coming from the Federal Railroad Administration.

“I am extremely excited about the grant and grateful for the FRA’s interest and belief in this unique urban-rural rail project,” Padgett wrote in a project update press release.



Padgett says the grant is designated for preliminary engineering or design of the new track over the Cape Fear River and north along the Highway 421 corridor as well as the production of the NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act) documentation.

The completion of the NEPA documentation and some engineering will provide information to further discussions and hopefully bring private investment to the project according to Padgett.

In May, Padgett provided an update before Wilmington City Council on the project.

The City has hired a full-time Project Director. Padgett says Aubrey Parsley has been working with Norfolk Southern Railroad and has accepted to head the project.

“He has a degree in Civil Engineering, a Master’s degree in Systems Engineering and brings the experience we were hoping to find,” wrote Padgett. “We are excited to welcome him to Wilmington around the end of June. I will be making sure he is introduced to the community and others who have been interested in this project.”