ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Four railroad workers stood on either side of the railroad crossing on Cooper Street in Arlington Thursday, holding large stop signs.
Down the track 100 yards, a large piece of machinery slowly rolled along as part of the ongoing work to refurbish the rails between Dallas and Fort Worth.
Frustrated drivers with no place to turn around could only wait for the intersection to clear. And wait. And wait some more.
“I pulled up here about 12:20, 12:24,” said Arlene Forbes who was on her way to an appointment just a block away on the other side of the tracks. It was now 1 p.m. “I’m just sitting. I have to be at my CPA office right now!”
Forbes’ grandson had taken the opportunity to curl up in the backseat and take nap.
The problem will be far larger over the weekend as the operation shuts down more intersections. Collins Street has 45,000 vehicles a day, Cooper Street has 60,000.
At the peak of construction, as many as 149,000 drivers could be affected in a single day.
As of Thursday evening, only Davis Avenue is shut down.
“Tomorrow though we add Cooper, we add Center. We add Mesquite,” said Arlington spokesperson Rebecca Rodriguez about upcoming railroad intersection closings. “And then on Saturday we have other closures as well. So that’s going to make this exponentially more complicated.”
That’s why emergency management crews are staffing an operations center around the clock.
It will be the centralized traffic hub for the city.
They’ve pre-positioned emergency crews and equipment to service areas north and south of the tracks.
They can monitor which intersections are backed up and control lights to keep alternative routes flowing.
City planners hope drivers have had enough warning to avoid the intersections and minimize headaches.
“I think the city has done what it could to get the word out in terms of messaging to folks,” Rodrigez said. “And I think people got the message and they’ve re-planned their route.”
For the latest on the Arlington crossing delays, including viewing interactive webcams, CLICK HERE.