NewsPolk County


Polk drivers worried aging railway could ruin vehicles, cause accidents

Posted at 3:51 PM, Nov 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-06 17:23:52-05

Drivers in Polk County are tired of a railroad crossing so neglected they’re afraid of ruining their cars or worse.

“It’s a busy area a lot of traffic daily,” Danny Lopez, a driver said.

For such a small town, Lake Alfred has a big and bumpy issue. A problem, that’s been growing for more than 20 years.

“You got to be careful,” Lopez said pointing to the busy railroad crossing.

David Rowland, a Bartow resident brought the problem to ABC Action News. Rowland takes the route near Highway 17/92 toward Davenport each day.

“Safety is a big concern of mine,” Rowland said.

And each day he has to pass over the bumpy, noisy and quite dangerous railroad crossing.

“People could run off the road, accidents can happen,” he said.

For a year now, he’s been trying to get the county’s attention, as well as CSX’s response to the issue. But, without luck.

“As I look at it, it bothers me each time watching the vehicles go over it,” Rowland said.

Seeing it in person, you can tell why - and even hear it.

“It’s bumpy,” Lopez said. 

You can hear the metal clanging and see the wood pieces that have broken loose, bounce up and down as traffic buzzes over the the crossing. To add to the obnoxious route, it’s a steep trip down, depending on which way you come from.

“You have to come to a sudden stop and you might get rear-ended,” Lopez said.

“If this was a slow road and it was barely used, then I wouldn’t be standing in front of the camera right now,” Rowland said, obviously frustrated with the crossing.

And he’s not the only one. County Commissioner, Bill Baswell says it’s been a known issue for 20 years, possibly even 50.

While he’d like to do something about it, Baswell feels helpless saying ultimately it’s a state transportation and CSX issue and they have to handle it.

“It’s not just something that happens overnight,” Rowland said. 

With the amount of traffic and the condition of the railroad, drivers are worried something tragic might happen.

CSX would only say they are looking into the issue and wouldn’t comment further.

“If we could avoid accidents, if we could avoid things like this and get something fixed that’s one less thing we have to worry about,” Rowland said.