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Neighborhood leaders fight for railroad track fix

Posted at 5:24 PM, Aug 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-14 18:50:49-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Some residents in South Tampa are raising concerns about the condition of railroad crossings and on a mission to get them fixed. But despite their complaints, they say nothing has changed.

"This is bad," Emily Hone said while looking at tracks on S. Manhattan Ave. near W. Bay Avenue.

She's lived in the neighborhood south of Gandy for more than 30 years, but last week felt the impact.

"Just going over it and just something got in the tire, and caused a bubble and by that afternoon I had to go get it changed," she said.

She and Jeffrey Nietupski are working to bring awareness to the tracks in the neighborhood as vice president and president of the Gandy Civic Association. They said they've brought their concerns to CSX.

"Before we looked there was the spikes the railroad spikes were sticking up with the bolts, there’s actually one where the bolts gone and it’s a sharp metal spike sticking straight up in the air," Nietupski said.

He showed ABC Action News the tracks last month. At the time, a city spokesperson stated work would start August 5 on tracks at S. West Shore Boulevard. between W. Prescott Street and Interbay Boulevard, S. Manhattan Avenue between W. Bay Avenuw and Manhattan Place, and W. Pearl Avenue between S. Lois Avenue and S. Clark Avenue contingent on CSX maintaining the planned schedule.

Since then, Nietupski said the tracks on S. Manhattan Avenue have only gotten worse.

"We get the run around, we get told it's gonna get fixed soon, it's on the schedule and as you see, nothing's happening," he said.

A city spokesperson said the work schedule is dictated by CSX, and once CSX provides a schedule, the city develops the maintenance of traffic plan, issues a traffic advisory and digs out the poor asphalt around the track. CSX makes the repairs and the city returns to pave. The city stated the latest tentative schedule from a CSX representative indicated the track repair work will start at the end of August, with each crossing requiring about a week to complete.

CSX stated, "We are in close coordination with the city of Tampa to schedule the necessary infrastructure improvements in the near future."