North Carolina awarded a $14.3 million contract to a Kentucky company to build a 5.6-mile rail spur to connect an aircraft parts manufacturing site to the Port of Morehead City.
The state's Department of Transportation announced the award to Hinkle Contracting of Paris, Ky., which will build the spur to support a manufacturer of parts for Airbus.
Spirit AeroSystems will start the factory operations in the third quarter at the Global TransPark, a special economic development zone in the Eastern part of the state.
Spirit, which is building fuselage panels and wing components for the Airbus A350 aircraft, will send the parts on rail track along U.S. Highway 70. The parts will be shipped to Toulouse, France, where Airbus completes assembly.
Work on the line will start next month and is expected to be completed in November 2011. Until then, state officials said, Spirit will use trucks to take components to a nearby load facility.
"The rail spur has been designed so that it can be accessible to other locations throughout the GTP in addition to the Spirit site," said Darlene Waddell, executive director of the Global TransPark. "It is a critical piece of infrastructure that will help the GTP attract tenants with large-scale shipping needs."