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New smart signs will help Lakeland drivers avoid sitting in traffic at downtown railroad crossing

Florida Avenue between Main Street and Pine Street
Posted at 10:16 AM, Mar 15, 2019

LAKELAND, Fla. --- Some drivers in Lakeland will soon be able to avoid sitting in traffic at one railroad crossing downtown.

Smart signs are in the process of being installed as part of the intelligent rail bypass system. The purpose is to alert drivers when a train is crossing Florida Avenue between Main Street and Pine Street.


The $900,000 project, funded by the Florida Department of Transportation, has been in the works for several years, says City of Lakeland Director of Communications Kevin Cook.

“Motorists won’t get caught on Florida Avenue and they can take a detour if they wish,” said Cook.

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More than a dozen smart signs will activate when the warning goes off at the railroad crossing. Drivers headed north on Florida Avenue will be guided to Lime Street and Sikes Boulevard. Drivers going south will be routed to George Jenkins Boulevard and Sikes Boulevard.

“Just like many communities, the railroad tracks were built way before the community and the community was built around the railroad tracks,” said Cook.

Cook says the signs will soon go through a week of testing. They will be active during that time.

This week, ABC Action news reported on complaints about other railway crossings in Lakeland being worked on by CSX.