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Drivers Navigate Arlington Railroad Construction

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) – Railroad construction has shut down four busy Arlington railroad crossings, including one on the city’s busiest street, Cooper.

The city and businesses have braced for the worst, as construction continues through the weekend.

“Honestly, we were kind of just worried it would be absolutely dead,” said Veronica Venable, a server at Mellow Mushroom Pizza, which sits next to the tracks on Center Street. “That was my worst fear. I was like, ‘I’ll come in and I’ll do my thing and be there.’ But I was not setting my expectations too high for today.

Railroad construction brought traffic to a hault Friday.

As many as 90-thousand drivers spilled onto side streets and find a way around the blocked railroad crossings.

Emergency management workers in a control center manually trigger stoplights to keep traffic flowing.

And, at this restaurant at least, there is a pleasant surprise.

“There seems to be some circulating traffic,” said Venable. “I had no trouble getting to work. I don’t feel like its a big an impact as we were worried it would be.”

The best business barometer for a server? Tips.

“They’re almost ten bucks more than usual,” Venable said with a smile. “You can’t complain about that!”

But this is just the second day of intersection closures. Intersections at the heavily traveled Collins Street and Stadium Drive are planned this weekend, adding to the congestion.

“Expect more of what you see,” said Arlington spokesperson Rebecca Rodriguez. “Long lines at traffic signals. Waits of 10 or 15 minutes to get through a light may not be unusual this weekend.”

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