ANDERSON, Ind. — CSX Corporation will be working throughout the city over the next several weeks to repave and smooth rough railroad crossings.
The impact on motorists in Anderson could be significant, but the city's street and engineering staffs have developed alternate routes that drivers can follow while the work is underway.
Rough railroad crossings aren't just jarring; they can also be a safety issue and damage vehicles if drivers don't slow down appropriately.
Although railroads are usually private property, many complaints about rough crossings are directed at the city, said Deputy Mayor Pete Heuer.
Crews began work at the crossing on West 53rd Street last week, said Chris Edwards, track maintenance supervisor for CSX. Repaving work is expected to resume on Tuesday and conclude by Friday.
The most significant traffic disruption, however, likely will occur sometime in mid-September — the exact dates have not yet been worked out with Indiana Department of Transportation CSX and city officials — when the railroad plans to close Scatterfield Road for three weeks to repair the crossings just south of Mounds Road.
CSX deploys specialized track maintenance crews through an area every five to seven years, and tries to repair as many crossings as possible in the least amount of time, said Heuer.
Although city and CSX officials are aware the work will be disruptive, "the good news is it's a short-term inconvenience for long-term results," he said, adding that detour signs will direct motorists around the affected crossings.
Crossings that will be improved during the first wave of repairs from Aug. 27 to Aug. 30, include: 53rd Street Cedar and Locust streets, and Madison Avenue.
Six crossings will be repaved in the second phase of work from Sept. 2, to Sept. 6, including: Main Street downtown and Fletcher, Walnut, Noble, Jefferson and Pitt streets.
Edwards said the work to smooth the crossings will involve lifting the tracks slightly, adding stone to the track bed and repaving the crossing, all of which should make the experience of driving across the tracks far less jarring.
"Now is the time to do this because we have the money," Edwards said.
In addition to CSX, two other companies — Norfolk Southern and Central Indiana Western — operate the railways running through Anderson, averaging a total of about 30 trains per day, city engineering officials have said.
According to Angels on Track, an organization that promotes railroad safety, there are more than 217,000 railroad crossings in the United States, and more than 134,000 of those intersect with public roads.
Like Stu Hirsch on Facebook and follow him @stuhirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.