North Carolina Railroad Co. is looking into rerouting rail lines away from their current route along U.S. 70 in increasingly congested Morehead City, a coastal community favored as a holiday destination by Triangle residents.
NCRR officials say the move would alleviate traffic headaches caused by the line's 53 road crossings between Havelock and Morehead City. A new corridor could accommodate larger, faster trains.
NCRR, which owns and manages a 317-mile rail corridor from Morehead City to Charlotte, has hired California-based Earth Tech Inc. and Columbia, S.C.-based Wilbur Smith Associates, both engineering consulting firms, to analyze the feasibility of shifting the lines.
Under the terms of the contract, Wilbur Smith and Earth Tech will study whether alternate routes exist and examine potential environmental issues and effects on service to the Port at Morehead City and other rail destinations.
The study should be completed by early 2007. Financial details of the contracts were not revealed.
NCRR officials believe that a shift in the corridor could prompt the growth of rail-served industries in Carteret County and bolster rail service to Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station and other eastern North Carolina military bases.