The cost and timetable are in: Study gives clearer picture of rail project in Research Triangle, N.C.

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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Officials looked into a light-rail line to serve Research Triangle, but Duke University objected to the plan.

You can put a big, red circle around the price of a new commuter line for the Research Triangle in North Carolina.

A new study revealed it would cost about $3 billion to complete an extension of more than 40 miles, and construction could start as late as 2035. The starting point for the route would be West Durham and it could reach as far as the Auburn community in Wake County and Clayton. Phased construction will most likely happen, with Durham and Raleigh involved in the first phase.

A commuter rail system also would use tracks owned by Norfolk Southern, CSX, Piedmont trains, and Amtrak trains. The study said it would cost $42 million annually to operate and maintain the extension.  

Laying down track in Durham, however, comes with complications. The double track would need to be extended an additional 3 miles west of Durham, officials have not agreed on the design for new tracks in downtown Durham, and a third track would be necessary near a freight yard in East Durham, requiring the closing of a portion of Driver Street.

Read more articles on track construction.

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