That connector is expected to reduce traffic jams caused by the rail switching station by at least 75 percent. Currently, trains must stop and detach cars if they need to change direction from traveling north or south to east or west, and vice versa. The connector track will enable trains to change direction in one, uninterrupted motion.
Officials broke ground on the project Nov. 30. City Engineer David Brown said plans were to begin this stage of construction in mid-January, but frequent rains have delayed progress by a month.
Crews previously closed the crossing at South Pitt Street, which will remain closed permanently.
Access to local residences and businesses within that portion of 14th Street will remain available, the news release said.
Construction of the track and installation of signals at the crossing is expected to take 30 days, Brown said.
The entire switching station eventually will be moved north of the Tar River off N.C. 903. That work is unlikely to begin before 2011.
Greenville engineering staff is managing the $9.75-million project, partnered with the N.C. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Transportation, CSX Transportation, Carolina Coastal Railway and Norfolk Southern.