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The project logo P-5748: Helms Road Grade Separation in Union County

The project logo P-5748: Helms Road Grade Separation in Union County

 

Project Overview:

The N.C. Department of Transportation is proposing rail and roadway improvements in the Helms Road, Tory Path Road, and N.C. 75 (Waxhaw Highway) area in Union County, N.C. and Lancaster County, S.C.

The  project proposes to:

  • Construct a rail grade separation in the vicinity of Helms Road

  • Close the existing at-grade crossing at Helms Road 

  • Construct a new roadway connection from the proposed grade separation to Waxhaw-Marvin Road

 

In addition, the project will:

  • Construct approximately 2,600 feet (0.5 mile) of rail siding which begins 850 feet east of Hancock Road in Union County, N.C. and extends to Hector Road in Lancaster County, S.C.

  • Track improvements and maintenance activities for a portion of the track near downtown Waxhaw, as well as the proposed closing of the Hector Road railroad crossing.*

​*In December 2020, Lancaster County made a motion to not support the proposed closure of Hector Road at-grade crossing. The siding extension will now be proposed to end just east of the Hector Road crossing. 

 

The Helms Road Grade Separation project is Phase II of P-5748. Phase I of P-5748 (Project No. F-14288) proposes to close the existing at grade rail crossing at Tory Path Road and complete an extension of Tory Path to Helms Road on new alignment. More information regarding F-14288 can be found here. 

Phase I (Tory Path) Map

Phase I (Tory Path) Signed Environmental Document

 

Project Update:

 NCDOT and the Federal Rail Administration (funding agency) met on September 22, 2020 to discuss the alternatives and impacts to the project study area. As a result of the meeting, Alternative 1, Option C was chosen as the agency proposed preferred alternative. 

The proposed project alternatives were presented to the public Fall 2020 including a connection from Waxhaw Marvin Road to Waxhaw Parkway (currently unfunded) for Alternative 1, Options A, B, and C.

After a thorough review of new information received, public input, environmental impacts (possible relocation of an utility tower) and discussions with stakeholders, Alternative 1, Option A has been selected for the funded portion by NCDOT and the Federal Rail Administration. This alternative has been modified in an effort to minimize the impacts to the utilities, streams and wetlands, residences and the unmarked cemeteries. Updated map can be found below.

The selected Alternative 1, Option A includes:

  • A new grade separated roadway from N.C. 75 (Waxhaw Highway) to Waxhaw Marvin Road. (The designs for the unfunded portion of the project (Waxhaw-Marvin to N.C. 16) will be addressed through future studies and when the project funding is secured.)

​Design for the currently unfunded portion will be addressed when the project gets funded in the future. ​   

 

Project Purpose: 

The proposed project will eliminate rail - highway conflicts and improve conditions for motorists and emergency vehicles accessing to and from N.C. 75 (Waxhaw Highway). Crossings along this rail corridor have experienced blockages by waiting trains. This is predominantly due to the need to make way for some trains to pass while other trains wait on the rail siding track. The existing rail siding is not sufficient to accommodate the length of the trains without blocking crossings.

 

Rail siding extension in the area will reduce rail congestion in the state’s rail network between the Port of Wilmington and Charlotte, resulting in increased rail efficiency, accommodation of future freight growth and improved air quality. This will also aid in keeping standing trains at a safe distance from nearby rail crossings.  The proposed  grade separation and closing of the existing at-grade crossing at Helms Road will also  support the projected long term increases in both vehicular and train traffic in the project study area by providing a highway corridor  that has a free-flow crossing of the CSX rail line.

 

NCDOT began the process of studying the transportation needs in the study area due to the impacts of rail crossing blockages in the area.  Several design alternatives for a new roadway connection have been identified for further study.  The alternatives were presented to the public and were analyzed based on their potential to fulfill the project's purpose while minimizing impacts to the human and natural environment. 

 

Currently only a portion of the project is funded. The portion of the project from N.C. 75 (Waxhaw Highway) to Waxhaw-Marvin Road is funded by Federal Rail Administration Consolidated Rail Infrastructure & Safety Improvements and N.C. State funds.


Vicinity Map:


Study Area Map:

Project Schedule: 

Milestone

Date*

Project Start

January 2019 

Project Newsletter

October 2020 

Environmental Document / Notification of Preferred Alternative 

April 2021 

Begin Right-of-Way 

Spring 2022 

Begin Construction

Spring 2023 

* Future dates are preliminary and subject to change

Project Alternatives:

NCDOT is evaluating two alternatives with varying options and one rail siding extension alternative.  All the alternatives described below include a grade separation at N.C. 75 (Waxhaw Highway). Existing at-grade crossings proposed for closure include Hector Road and Helms Road.

By clicking on the icon () on the top of the map set below, you will have the option of turning on/off individual alternatives for ease of viewing. (Clicking on the icon a second time will minimize the selection screen) 

 

 

 

Alternative 1, Option A (Modified) - Selected

Construct a grade separated bridge over N.C. 75 (Waxhaw Highway) and extend existing Helms Road east on new location roadway. The new roadway would provide access from N.C. 75 to Waxhaw Marvin Road.

A roundabout is included in the design at the intersection of Waxhaw Marvin Road and Helms Road. View/Download Map Here. 

 

Alternative 1, Option B

Construct a grade separated bridge on N.C. 75 (Waxhaw Highway) over the railroad and extend   existing Helms Road east on new location roadway.

This alternative differs slightly from Alternative 1, Option A as it constructs the new location roadway toward the east and includes a loop to access the new roadway.

This alternative would provide access from N.C. 75 (Waxhaw Highway) to Waxhaw Marvin Road to Waxhaw Marvin Road.

A roundabout is included in the design at intersection of Waxhaw Marvin Road and Helms Road. View/Download Map Here.

 

Alternative 1, Option C

Construct a grade separated bridge on N.C. 75 (Waxhaw Highway) over the railroad and extend existing Helms Road east on new location roadway.

This alternative is similar to the previous alternatives but is located further east. 

This alternative would provide access from N.C. 75 (Waxhaw Highway) to Waxhaw Marvin Road to Waxhaw Marvin Road.

A roundabout is included in the design at intersection of Waxhaw Marvin Road and Helms Road. View/Download Map Here.

 

Alternative 2, Option A

Construct a grade separated bridge on N.C. 75 (Waxhaw Highway) over the railroad and will not  included an extension of Helms Road. A new location roadway would be constructed from N.C. 75 (Waxhaw Highway) to Waxhaw Marvin Road.

A roundabout is included in the design at intersection of Waxhaw Marvin Road and Helms Road. View/Download Map Here.

 

Alternative 2, Option B

Construct a grade separated bridge on N.C. 75 (Waxhaw Highway) over the railroad and will not included an extension of Helms Road. A new location roadway would be constructed from N.C. 75 to Waxhaw Marvin Road.

A roundabout is included in the design at Waxhaw Marvin Road. View/Download Map Here. 

 

Rail Siding Extension

Proposed to be constructed parallel to the existing rail line. It will be approximately 4,660 feet long. The siding will begin in North Carolina, 860 feet from the North and South Carolina border and end 3,800 feet into South Carolina near Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church.

This siding extension will allow for stopped trains to move away from the active rail line and prevent rail congestion. View/Download Map Here.

Proposed Project Cross Sections:

Bridge Cross Section 

 

 

Helms Road Cross Section 

 

 

Waxhaw Marvin Road Cross Section 

 

 

Waxhaw Parkway Highway Cross Section 

 

 

Potential Impacts to Human and Natural Resources for Each Alternative*:

 

Alt. 1, Option A (Modified)

Alt. 1, Option B

Alt. 1, Option C

Alt. 2, Option A

Alt. 2, Option B

Rail Siding Extension

Residential Relocations

15

8

9

2

1

0

Business Relocations

0

1

0

0

1

0

Disadvantaged Populations

No effect

No effect

No effect

No effect

No effect

No effect

Bicycle/Pedestrian Facilities

Positive effect

Positive effect

Positive effect

Positive effect

Positive effect

Positive effect

Community Services

No effect

No effect

No effect

No effect

No effect

No effect

Protected Species

No effect

No effect

No effect

No effect

No effect

No effect

Cultural Resources

No effect

1 cemetary

No effect

1 cemetary

No effect

No effect

Stream (linear feet)

0 ft.

0 ft.

0 ft.

490 ft.

977 ft.

77 ft.

Wetlands (acres)

0 ac.

0 ac.

0 ac.

.10 ac.

.14 ac.

0 ac.

* Impacts to these resources are considered during selection of the preferred alternative

Project Funding:

This project is listed as Project P-5748 in the N.C. Department of Transportation’s State Transportation Improvement Program and is funded for $26.3 million.

 

Alt. 1, Option A (Modified) 

Alt. 1, Option B

Alt. 1, Option C

Alt. 2, Option A

Alt. 2, Option B

Rail Siding Extension

Construction Costs

$13.4m

$15.8m$16.5m$12.3m$15.1m$5.4m

* NCDOT, September 2020. Costs are  preliminary and subject to change. Costs do not include right-of-way or utility costs.

Project Comments:

Due to Covid-19, NCDOT has suspended in-person meetings until further notice.

 

The public is encouraged to leave any questions or comments using this website or the project email or phone number.

Project email: [email protected]

Phone Number: (855) 925-2801 enter project code 8677

 

 


 

Would you like to be added to the project mailing list?

Project Contacts:

Anamika Laad, AICP, CTP

NCDOT Rail Project Manager

(919) 707-4705

Teresa Hart, PE, CPM

Consultant Project Manager (JMT)

(984) 269-4918

Project Email Address: [email protected]input.com

Resources for Property Owners 

Although the N.C. Department of Transportation works to minimize the number of homes and businesses displaced by a road project, it is inevitable, in many cases, that a certain amount of private property is needed. The following information explains right of way acquisition and answers questions about the process.  

 

Relocation Assistance Brochure                               Asistencia para Reubicación      
Right-of-Way Acquisition Process Brochure             Folleto del Proceso de Adquisición de Bienes Raíces
Right-of-Way Frequently Asked Questions