The economic benefits of the future CSX intermodal rail project are beginning, with the city planning board giving the green light for a company’s rock quarry to be the source of massive amounts of sandy soil for the project.

“We’re excited what this is going to do for the community of Rocky Mount,” Darren McMorris, area manager for Hanson Aggregates, told the Telegram of the CSX facility.

The CSX facility is going to be off U.S. 301 across from the front side of N.C. Wesleyan College. The facility is going to be a place for freight trains to arrive, with the freight to be off-loaded onto other trains or trucks for distribution.

Hanson Aggregates, which is based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, is one of North America’s leading suppliers of building materials. Hanson Aggregates has a quarry off Springfield Road northeast of Rocky Mount in Edgecombe County.

Hanson Aggregates asked the planning board for a permit so material can be excavated from borrow pits at the quarry off Springfield and trucked to the CSX project site.

The CSX site is in Edgecombe County and approximately five miles from the quarry.

Cameron Long, with the Dewberry engineering firm and representing Hanson Aggregates, told the planning board the pits are going to be 46 acres in size.

Long said he and his team propose the pits be left open or filled at the end of the excavation, depending on the conditions at the site at the time.

He said there is not going to be any adverse impact.

John Perry, a construction development coordinator with the city of Rocky Mount, told the planning board the permit is required for any land disturbance activity on the property.

Perry told the planning board 11 items in the paperwork needed to be considered, but he said the city staff recommended issuing the permit, pending approval from the state.

After a brief question-and-answer phase from the planning board, no one spoke in opposition and the panel quickly voted yes.

McMorris told the Telegram that CSX has hired a contractor to handle the excavating.

McMorris said the quarry has been in operation for decades, with the site providing crushed gravel for local communities.

CSX, which is based in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2016 announced plans to build a facility, but CSX eventually put those plans on hold and reassessed the company’s business model.

In June 2018, the state Department of Transportation and CSX announced they had reached an agreement on a scaled back facility.

Gov. Roy Cooper in late April led a ceremony at N.C. Wesleyan officially launching the CSX project.

The plan is for CSX to contribute at least $40 million to the project and the state transportation department is going to invest up to at least $118 million.