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CSX to replace railroad crossing near City Park

July 23, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- The "rum-pum-pum" of car tires vibrating over railroad tracks is expected to get softer next week when CSX replaces an uneven crossing near Hagerstown City Park.

Starting Tuesday, CSX plans to replace the Virginia Avenue crossing, close to the former Grille at Park Circle restaurant.

The railroad company and the City of Hagerstown say the work will take a maximum of four days and require slight detours.

CSX spokesman Bob Sullivan said the company also plans to overhaul a worn crossing on Eastern Boulevard near Security Road, but nothing has been scheduled. It might happen by the end of summer or in early fall, he said.

About a year ago, the city put up signs on Virginia Avenue telling the public how to call CSX and report problems with the crossing, where rotting timbers make passage bumpy. One lane has a blacktop patch.

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City Engineer Rodney Tissue said last month that despite calls and letters, CSX hadn't committed to doing the work.

So, when CSX called Tuesday to say the crossing will be replaced, the city was "pleasantly surprised," Tissue said.

He didn't know if The Herald-Mail's June 28 story, pictures and video clip of the Virginia Avenue and Eastern Boulevard crossings played a part, but said, "It certainly didn't hurt."

Sullivan said the decision to replace the crossings wasn't connected to the newspaper coverage.

"This really was a question of scheduling and planning," he said.

A city press release says CSX will start the work Tuesday at 7 a.m.

Workers will remove existing rails, timbers and railbeds and rebuild the crossing with new materials, the press release says.

New bituminous pavement will be applied.

Traffic will be directed to Memorial Boulevard and Summit Avenue.

The work is scheduled to be finished by Friday at 4:30 p.m.

At the Eastern Boulevard crossing, CSX previously used rubber mats on either side of the rails to create an even plane for traffic.

But after a train derailed in 2005, CSX "threw some asphalt in there" for a quick fix, creating "a very rough road," Joseph Kroboth III, Washington County's director of public works, said last month.

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