Rail Work Will Close Some Downtown Intersections Next Week

3 CSX closingsDrivers will face some obstacles moving through downtown Lakeland next week. CSX maintenance work will close railroad intersections at Missouri, Kentucky, Massachusetts and Ingraham Avenues starting Tuesday afternoon.

The work replacing ties and timbers should end by Thursday or Friday, city commissioners were told at an agenda study meeting this morning.

CSX Transportation is preparing detour maps that city officials hope to distribute this afternoon, Lakeland transportation planner Chuck Barmby said.

“Florida Avenue, Tennessee Avenue and the In-town Bypass are obvious detours for north and southbound traffic through downtown during the construction,” city spokesman Kevin Cook said in a news release.

Commissioners Don Selvage questioned why CSX didn’t inform the public sooner, and Mayor Howard Wiggs wondered if the work could have begun in the evening, giving at least one more day without disruptions during afternoon work hours.

Barmby replied that, unlike road work, railroad maintenance is restricted to between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Julie Townsend, director of the Downtown Development Authority, says she’s relieved the work won’t take place during special events that will bring even more people downtown.

She acknowledged the work will cause some pain for people who work and travel through downtown, but realizes the maintenance is necessary. “As a person who cares about the country’s infrastructure, you can’t complain,” she said.