ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) — Drivers in Arlington can expect major traffic delays and disruptions next week, when a railroad improvement project is scheduled to shut down five major intersections simultaneously.
Street level railroad crossings, between Bowen Road and Mesquite Street, will stay closed for several days each, during the period between January 16-24th.
“We’re expecting gridlock around some of these crossings. It’s just to be expected, especially during peak travel times,” said Rebecca Rodriguez, a spokesperson for the city of Arlington.
A slow moving train, called the Track Renewal Train, already making its way from Fort Worth, will replace wooden ties with concrete ones, helping create 35 miles of new rail.
The $30 million dollar improvement project by Union Pacific will ultimately allow its trains to travel faster, reduce needed maintenance on the tracks, and lower the risk of derailments, like one Arlington experienced last February.
For eight days, though, the work will disrupt daily life.
The city of Arlington will work out of its Emergency Operations Center and position fire trucks and emergency vehicles around the city to keep response times in check.
“I feel like it’s going to be a ghost town, quite honestly,” said Emma Marie Pointer, a bartender at the Mellow Mushroom.
Located along the north side of the tracks, the restaurant depends on customers from the south side of town.
Pointer said she expects she’ll have a longer commute to work and slow business once she gets there.
“You don’t want to get stuck in traffic to go somewhere to eat,” she said.
Union Pacific said it will employ 250 workers, who will likely be patronizing local businesses.
They’re scheduled to work 12 hour days, from 6am to 6pm.
Intersections will gradually reopen, until January 24th, when the work is expected to have moved east of Arlington.
The entire project is set to concluded March 7th in east Dallas.
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