PARKERSBURG - Traffic ran smoothly with few problems on Monday said officials with Belpre and Parkersburg as traffic was rerouted and streets closed for CSX Transportation crews to work on the tracks above streets.
"Things are going really well," said Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz. "We brought in a couple of extra police officers and posted them along Main Street to make sure things ran smoothly and it went so well that we're thinking we won't need them (today)."
Both lanes of Main Street were closed at 7 a.m. Monday and are expected to reopen late today or early Wednesday morning as CSX Railroad workers replace rails on the tracks above the roadway.
CSX Transportation crews work on the rails above Belpre’s Main Street and parallel to the Belpre-Parkersburg Bridge on Monday. Main Street will remain closed today while Parkersburg will experience traffic changes this week. (Photo by Jolene Craig)
Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin said there were no issues on Monday, but he expects problems as the week continues.
"So far, so good, but I am anticipating things to get worse as more lanes are closed and drivers have to use different routes," Martin said.
The one problem in Belpre was a man thought he could drive around the road blocks on Main Street by driving through the Wal-bon Corp. at the base of the bridge.
"I will be seeing him in the morning in Mayor's Court," Lorentz said.
Martin said as the first day of the traffic pattern changes was relatively easy, more officers will be in the areas of road and lane closures to assist drivers this week.
"Wednesday will probably be the worst as people get used to most of Garfield Avenue being closed as well as Sixth Street and the intersections of Sixth with Ann, Juliana, Market and Avery streets," Martin said. "It will be interesting to see what happens."
Beginning around 7 a.m. on Wednesday and ending Friday evening, the CSX Transportation crews will be replacing rails on the tracks above Sixth Street. The work requires large spikes to be shot into the railroad ties and some spikes could go through the tracks to the street below.
Traffic on Garfield will be restricted with the two right lanes closed. The only traffic to be allowed on Sixth Street will be hospital employees who park in the private lot next to the railroad trestle, Martin said.
"I want to remind folks to anticipate delays and to give themselves more time to get through downtown as this work is done," Martin said. "We are doing what we can to help CSX and keep everyone safe."
Parkersburg Police Department will have officers posted at the intersections of Sixth Street with Garfield Avenue, Ann, Juliana, Market and Avery streets.
"I just hope people pay attention and are safe with the traffic changes," Martin said. "Really, if people can avoid Garfield Avenue from Wednesday through Friday, do it."