The rail realignment project could have an influence on the city’s historic fabric. We’re keeping up to speed on it and hope you will, too.
The City of Wilmington’s Rail Realignment Project proposes the replacement and improvement of the existing freight rail route between Navassa (Davis) Yard and the Port of Wilmington by creating a new, shorter route. Once a new freight route is in operation, the City has proposed repurposing the existing route for public use. HWF fully supports the City of Wilmington’s rail realignment project.
In October, 2021, AECOM released the Wilmington Rail Realignment Alternatives Analysis Report for the City of Wilmington and Federal Railroad Administration. Alternative 2 was identified as the Preferred Alternative for the project. The Alternatives Analysis is the second of three reports in the project’s study efforts pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This report helps identify a preferred alternative for the realignment of an existing CSX Transportation freight rail line that traverses through the City of Wilmington.
In January of 2021, AECOM released the Wilmington Rail Realignment Corridor Screening Report. On March 24, 2021, HWF’s Executive Director Travis Gilbert sent a letter to Mr. Aubrey Parsley, Director of Rail Realignment. To read the letter in full, click here.
HWF serves as a National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Consulting Party for the rail realignment project. Consulting parties and participating agencies regularly meet to discuss the project and strategies to minimize adverse effects to cultural resources. These meetings include representatives from the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the USS North Carolina Commission, and the Eagles Island Task Force, among others.
Currently, the project is in the “Identify” phase of the Section 106 process. The purpose of the “Identify” phase is to define the Area of Potential Effects (APE) and identify cultural resources either listed (or eligible) on the National Register of Historic Places. Click here to see the APE.
Architectural historians identified the former Holy Church of Jesus Christ (NH2591) at 216 Marstellar Street as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C and that the resource meets the requirements of Criterion Consideration A. Unfortunately, the Wilmington National Register Historic District was determined ineligible for expansion within the APE due to a continued loss of integrity. Click here to read HWF’s response to the Architectural Intensive-Level Survey, which explains HWF’s current position in greater detail.
Once historic resources are identified, the potential effects will be assessed. Development of visualizations will be used to support the effects assessment. If adverse effects are identified, participating agencies and consulting parties will work to resolve and develop avoidance/mitigation measures. Check back soon!
In the News:
- StarNews, February 13, 2022: Near the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, two new bridges are set to form Wilmington’s rail realignment
- Port City Daily, April 20, 2020: Wilmington to pick engineering firm for $2.5 million contract, moving rail realignment project forward
- Port City Daily, January 19, 2020: The latest on Wilmington rail realignment: federal grant, environmental study, rail bridge option