Carolina Connector to spur economic growth in Edgecombe County

EDGECOMBE COUNTY, NC (WITN) - Edgecombe County celebrates the ground-breaking of a new project with the NCDOT and CSX that is expected to bring economic boosts to Eastern North Carolina.

The Carolina Connector is expected to bring more than 1,000 jobs, according to leaders, and give access to existing and future industries. The project involves the construction of an intermodal terminal stretching across nearly 300 acres along the CSX mainline near Rocky Mount.

Leaders say it will allow trucks to bring cargo containers that will be transferred to trains for transport in order for efficient access to many industries. The project is expect to also lead to associated public benefits such as pavement maintenance savings, shipper savings, traffic congestion savings, and emissions reductions.

Governor Roy Cooper believes the project will be a huge benefit for the economy.

“We need to make sure that businesses can get their produce, product from one place to the next. And using this combination on of trucking and rail is going to spur a lot of economic development in and around Eastern North Carolina. It’ll be good for the entire state,” Cooper says.

Other leaders such as President and CEO of N.C. East Alliance John Chaffee says he’s on board with the project and its location.

Chafee said, “It’s a logical location for CSX to make this kind of investment. And it really adds
a nice new dimension in terms of our intermodal capabilities in Eastern North Carolina.”

NCDOT will invest $181 million dollars, and CSX is contributing $40 million. CSX will operate the facility at their cost of approximately $6 million per year for nine years.

Highway improvements include:

Road improvements along Old Battleboro Road, Morning Star Church Road, Red Oak Battleboro Road, Tanner Road and N.C. 4 are being constructed by NCDOT to facilitate highway traffic around to the intermodal terminal.

The project also required the removal of the existing rail crossing at Instrument Drive/Fountain Park Drive and the removal of portion of College Road.

The department already resurfaced a section of N.C. 4 last summer. The construction of a roundabout at Old Battleboro Road and Morning Star Church Road is scheduled to be completed in December.

The road improvements will cost $6 million.

The project is expected to start around May or June and could take up to 18 to 20 months to complete. For more information, visit NCDOT's website. See attached link.