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Winter Haven drivers push for answers after CSX delays construction on primary railroad crossing

Posted at 7:13 PM, Jun 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-28 14:38:37-04

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Frustration is growing in a Winter Haven neighborhood, where a primary railroad crossing is shut down.

The intersection on N Lake Shipp Drive SW was supposed to be under construction and fixed a month ago.

Yet, it remains closed and not fixed.

“It’s been extremely frustrating,” Marjorie Zarbaugh, of Winter Haven said.

She came forward to ABC Action News, saying CSX wasn’t providing answers.

We waited all day to see if workers would resume or even begin work on the crossing, but didn’t see anyone working.

Neighbors did say there were employees along the railroad around 9 a.m., but left shortly afterward and had not returned.

In this time, ABC Action News spotted several cars come down the road only to get turned around because of the closing. 

“There’s a lot of cars that cut through there going to town,” Zarbaugh said.

According to a public Facebook post, drivers have been complaining about the crossing for about two years.

Zarbaugh said it was dangerous for cars as wood, nails and railroad ties were sticking up.

So, when they heard CSX Transportation was going to repair it, the neighborhood was overjoyed.

But, it has yet to happen.

“Why? There was a supposed rain delay,” Zarbaugh said.

She says her and the city of Winter Haven were both told the rain had delayed construction.

But when ABC Action News reached out to CSX for comment, the answer was completely different.

A spokesperson for CSX claims there have been unexpected mechanical issues.

Their statement is below.

“As part of the company’s routine infrastructure maintenance program, CSX is conducting maintenance on crossings throughout Winter Haven, FL.  Unexpected mechanical issues with the equipment have caused delays to the project at North Lake Ship Drive, and CSX apologizes to community members who may be impacted by this. CSX has been closely coordinating with the Florida Department of Transportation to complete this project, and we expect to re-open the crossing early next week, barring any weather delays or other unexpected issues.  Maintenance like this is critical to the safety of both train operations and roadway traffic, and CSX appreciates the patience of the Winter Haven Community while we complete this important work.”

While many neighbors are frustrated with the closing, others say it’s been nice to live on such a quiet street.

Soon that will change, as CSX says work is expected to be complete by next week.