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Rain and rail line construction make a mess for businesses

Muddy mess

A spoil pile left by rail line construction tracked mud into the Stout Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. parking lot, next to Higgins Automotive on South Main Street, on Monday. NCDOT said workers cleaned up the parking lot on Tuesday. Amanda Raymond/Salisbury Post

A spoil pile left by rail line construction tracked mud into the Stout Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. parking lot, next to Higgins Automotive on South Main Street, on Monday. NCDOT said workers cleaned up the parking lot on Tuesday. Amanda Raymond/Salisbury Post

Businesses on South Main Street have been experiencing flooding because of recent rain, but also because of the rail line construction occurring in their backyards.

Tim Nooner, owner of On Track Auto Sales, and Mark Stout, owner of Stout Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc., have both been experiencing flooding on their property.

Nooner said a ditch that used to exist toward the back of his property and carried rain away was filled in because of the rail line construction.

“I don’t have a problem with the railroad. I just would like to have a gully back here dug while they’re doing this so we can use our business,” Nooner said.

Since there is no ditch for rainwater to run off into, the recent rainfall has left puddles of water on Nooner’s property, in some places ankle-deep.

“I can’t get to my cars. It’s kind of hard to sell a car if you can’t get to it,” Nooner said.

Next door, the rail construction had left a spoil pile of mud and dirt that Stout said the rain carried into his parking lot.

“The spoil pile that’s causing the issue is the result of a contractor performing rough grading along the railroad tracks behind several businesses,” Hannah Davis, multimodal communications officer at the N.C. Department of Transportation, said in an email.

Stout said the mud in the parking lot was more than just displeasing to the eye.

“I don’t want older people coming out here with mud all over the parking lot with chances to slip and fall,” he said.

Stout also said the ground and rainwater that had no place to drain has been filling up his septic tanks, causing him to have it pumped out more than usual. There was also standing water touching the foundation of his building.

The rail line construction behind the businesses on South Main Street is part of the Salisbury to Kannapolis Railroad Improvements project headed by the NCDOT.

According to the NCDOT website, the project will add a second track along the North Carolina Railroad corridor in Rowan County. It is constructing about 11 miles of new track between Salisbury and Kannapolis.

According to the website, the project is proposed to be completed in the spring of 2017.

Stout contacted the Department of Transportation about his problem on Monday. According to an email from Kelly Seitz, project engineer for the project, the project’s contractor was working on correcting the problem at Stout’s and at the adjacent property.

Seitz wrote that the project received over two inches of rain during the weekend.

Stout said he was doubtful that anyone would help, but assistance came earlier than expected.

According to Seitz’s email, the cleanup was supposed to be done by Wednesday, but it was actually done on Tuesday.

Seitz said he met with Stout on Monday afternoon to discuss his problem. Workers from Transportation Department were able to remove the spoil pile that was blocking the ditch at the front of the business, according to Seitz.

Seitz said clean up efforts should have been completed yesterday. The ditch that runs between Nooner’s and Stout’s businesses was also cleaned out, according to Seitz.

Stout said NCDOT laid out gravel and cleaned the parking lot of his business.

“They’ve been working like crazy,” he said. “I’m well pleased.”

Cindy Nooner, Tim Nooner’s wife, said the work NCDOT has done has not helped On Track Auto Sales as much, but she is glad something is being done.

“At least they did start working on it,” she said. “That’s a positive thing because we haven’t been able to get anybody to do that. So hopefully they’ll get it finished.”

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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