HIGH POINT, N.C. – An aging infrastructure renewal project is underway along the railroad tracks in High Point that will give the city a nice look and protect against erosion in vulnerable areas.
It’s a combined effort between the city and the railroad to fix a problem that’s been 80 years in the making.
It stems back to 1930s when High Point and railroad officials decided to lower the railroad tracks.
“They did that because the tracks used to be up here at street level, so we had a series of at-grade-crossings going through High Point,” said Keith Pugh, the engineering services director in High Point.
But after 80 years, time has taken its toll on the sloped banking created by lowering the tracks.
“Between erosion and groundhogs and kudzu we continue to lose these embankments,” Pugh said. “And worst case one of the roads or one of the existing structures on either side of the embankments slide down onto the tracks.”
The erosion is evident in many places including just across from the intersection of Broad and Centennial where a large portion of the slope had washed away creating a fairly substantial hole.
“Anywhere we had a pipe discharging onto this slope created problems,” said Pugh.
But now the problem is being fixed in a joint effort between High Point, the North Carolina Railway and Norfolk Southern.
High Point has committed $1.5 million to the drainage portions at the top of the slope. The North Carolina railway is spending $3.6 million to create a retaining wall and rock slope and Norfolk Southern will pay to make sure drainage is adequate at the rail level.
The retaining walls, drainage system and big rocks called “rip-rap” will create a nice look and divert storm water runoff to the right place.
“We want High Point to look as good as we can when the home furnishings market comes into town or whenever we have visitors to our city” said Pugh.
This section of the project that spans from Wrenn to Centennial will be finished by June. The city hopes to then work on the section of track that parallels Washington Drive all the way down to the crossing at Hoskins Street.