CSX crossing efforts take many by surprise

MARIETTA – Three railroad crossings in Marietta’s Harmar district were closed to traffic Monday as CSX crews began work on replacing railroad ties and resurfacing the crossings on Market and Wood streets and Groves Avenue.

But area residents like David Coffen didn’t find out about the projects until work was underway Monday morning.

“This shuts down a lot of traffic in this area. They should let people know about this at least a week ahead of time,” said Coffen, who lives at the corner of Harmar and Market streets where one of the crossing projects was being done.

Kelly McElroy, a clerk at the Tri-State Marathon station near the Groves Avenue crossing, agreed.

“We get a lot of traffic coming off of Groves Avenue, especially from the (Washington County) career center,” she said. “But I didn’t know about the work until this morning.”

CSX roadmaster Ben Wynn said a release was supposed to be sent last week, announcing the street closings. But the city engineering department wasn’t aware that the crossings would be closed until late last week.

“We received a call late Friday afternoon that they were going to close the streets Monday, and detour signs would be put up,” said engineering department office manager Tina Lones.

Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews had not heard the crossing work was to begin Monday, although he was happy to know the crossings were being repaired.

“I’m glad they’re doing it,” he said. “CSX has always done a good job and we have a good relationship with them.”

Wynn said Market Street would likely be reopened to traffic by Monday evening, and the Wood Street crossing should be opened by then. If not, he said Wood Street would be completed today.

“Groves Avenue will also be open Tuesday evening at the latest,” he said.

Earlier this month CSX performed similar repairs on the crossing near County Road 4 and B.F. Goodrich Road. There were concerns about a lack of communication from the company in advance of that project, too.

Wynn said the County Road 4 project is completed, and when the work on the Harmar District crossings is finished there should be no other work at major crossings in Marietta.

CSX plans to continue with railroad crossing repairs between Marietta and Waterford within the next several weeks, he said.

Washington County highway superintendent Calvin Becker said CSX had plans to repair 52 crossings in the county during November, and most of those have been completed.

“Almost all of the county roads have been done,” he said. “There is still a crossing on County Road 60 to be done, but I have not been told when that work will be completed.”

That crossing is on County Road 60 near the west end of the Muskingum River bridge in Lowell.

Becker said the county uses local media outlets to inform area residents about pending work at the crossings, but some people have still complained they did not get the message.

“So I started having message boards put up at those sites before the work begins,” he said. “And a message board along the road leaves no doubt for people who travel through those areas.”

CSX officials did not respond to requests for a comment Monday, other than to say area work should be completed by Wednesday.