GoTriangle light rail project to be broken down into phases making it more susceptible to inflation

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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Koppers will pick up and dispose crossties for a new Class 1 operator.

Instead of biting off more than they can chew, officials have decided to cut a light rail line into smaller pieces.

Inflation has jacked up the price of a GoTriangle commuter rail line in North Carolina to as much as $3.2 billion, so the 40-mile route will be done in phases. Breaking up the project means it will take longer to build and will make it even more susceptible to inflation, but it also will mean the project development timeline could be matched to available resources.

The first phase is set to be complete between 2033 and 2035 and following sections could each take up to five years to complete. The line has been divided into three sections: a western portion leading to Durham and Triangle Park, a second section from Triangle Park to downtown Raleigh, and an eastern portion starting in Raleigh. The eastern section is set to cost about $700 million because it comes with the least amount of engineering challenges. It would take around eight years to finish. The Triangle Park-to-Raleigh leg could cost as much as $1 billion and is expected to take a decade to complete, while the western portion could cost in upwards of $1.6 billion and would take over a decade to complete. The western segment would require the construction of a second track.

GoTriangle is aiming to present a feasibility study to the public in January 2023, and officials hope to get buy-in over the phased construction approach from local governments before then.

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