A Union Pacific freight train passes over a crossing. (credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

A Union Pacific freight train passes over a crossing. (credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Drivers in and through Arlington are being forewarned about a major railway construction project that will simultaneously close railroad crossings and is expected to cause traffic headaches.

Starting January 16 Union Pacific Railroad will begin the UP Rail Renewal project. The railroad will be replacing all rails, ties and roadbed along their tracks at five different crossings.

Jay Farrar, Union Pacific’s track project manager, said the railroad has been working with city officials planning the project since November. “Certainly they were concerned because of the closures, [but] the upside of that is you guys are gonna get brand new crossings through the town of Arlington,” he said.

The projects are labor intensive and will have crews working 12 hours a day. All the crossings will remain closed 24 hours a day during the project. Farrer said giving drivers a ‘heads up’ is the right thing to do. “We definitely have to get the community prepared for what we’re about to do, and then it’s our job to come in here and plan our work and work the plan and execute it.”

Leaders in Arlington are urging drivers to plan alternate routes today and not wait until the projects are underway to figure their traveling options.

“It’s gonna mean the simultaneous closing of at least four to five of our crossings, beginning with Bowen Road to the west, and extending eastward to Mesquite,” explained Arlington spokeswoman Rebecca Rodriguez. “That’s right in the center of Arlington. It’s gonna have a major impact on drivers as they try to make their way around.”

City leaders suggest that drivers plan on using roads that go over or under the tracks — not across them. That would include alternates like Highways 360 and 161.

Rodriguez said Arlington is offering some online assistance to help drivers plan their routes. “We’ve taken 27 of these [traffic] cameras and put them on our website,” she said. It kind of helps people get a birds eye view of what’s happening, out their front door, without leaving their driveway.”

Rodriguez said the traffic cameras won’t stream live video, but the shots will be refreshed every five minutes.

The city has made provisions for emergency services and will have vehicles stationed on both sides of the Union Pacific tracks. The project will wrap up some time on January 24.

Anyone wanting to know more about the Union Pacific Rail Renewal project is invited to attend a presentation at Arlington City Hall next week.

Union Pacific Rail Renewal Project Public Meeting
Monday, January 14
Arlington City Council Chambers
101 W. Abram
6 p.m.

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