Friday, June 04, 2010

Draft EIS ready on Richmond-Raleigh high-speed line

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Hearings will be held at eight sites in Virginia and North Carolina in July on a draft environmental statement that is key step toward bringing fast new train service to the southeastern United Sates.

 

North Carolina and Virginia joined the Federal Railroad Administration Thursday in announcing completion of the Tier II Draft Environmental Impact Statement covering the portion of the Southeast High Speed Rail (SEHSR) corridor between Richmond and Raleigh.

The 121-mile project is part of an overall plan to extend high-speed passenger rail service from the Northeast Corridor (Boston to Washington) southward through Virginia to Charlotte, N.C. The Richmond to Raleigh segment includes nearly 100 new bridges/overpasses that will create a fully grade-separated system.

The planned service would have top speeds of 110 miles per hour with targeted average speeds of 85-87 mph.

"This is a significant step in completing the high-speed rail line from North Carolina to Washington, D.C.," said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo. "We are very pleased with the multi-state cooperation and agreements with the freight railroads, which will serve as a model for other states in pushing high-speed rail beyond their borders."

Patrick Simmons, director of rail for NCDOT, said the draft EEIS "represents eight years of engineering and environmental work along with public involvement, and is a major milestone toward implementing high speed rail in North Carolina and Virginia."