Railroad crossing on Central Avenue unexpectedly shut down, traffic heavy

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Morning commuters headed to work from Plaza Midwood were forced to turn around on highly-traveled Central Avenue Tuesday morning.

The railroad crossing, near Hawthorne Lane and Central Avenue, was shut down a day earlier than scheduled. CSX Transportation released a statement, calling the shut down a miscommunication.

CSX is performing important maintenance work on the tracks and many of the crossings in and around Charlotte. Crews travel along the tracks replacing crossties as they go and repaving crossings to provide a safe, smooth surface for motorists. This work is scheduled in close coordination with local roadway authorities, but because of a miscommunication, several crossings closed a day earlier than announced. CSX regrets the confusion this caused morning commuters and we're working to understand how the miscommunication happened. We work hard to provide accurate estimates of when such work is expected to begin, but crews may finish their work ahead of schedule or be delayed by a number of issues, including severe weather or mechanical issues on equipment. We appreciate the public's patience while crews complete this work, which is critical to ensuring the safety of motorists using these crossings and a safe, reliable freight rail network.

Corey Millet says it took him 15 minutes to get through the detour during the morning rush hour. Once he got to work, he says he jumped in to help divert traffic but he saw several cars and a CMS school bus disregarding the barricades.

"It attempted to go around the adjacent building here, but there were some low-hanging lights that it was not able to do so. So the bus stopped on the tracks, had to back out and move some of the signed to get out safely," Millet said.

CMS says the ten students on board were safe and the bus driver is suspended.

A spokesperson released this statement:

The safety and well-being of students is a top priority across the district at CMS. The district is investigating the events leading to school bus # 1627 maneuvering around a closed road barricade this morning at Hawthorne street, a practice that is strictly prohibited by CMS Transportation. All 10 students on board the school bus were safely transported to First Ward Creative Arts Academy. The bus driver has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

Meanwhile, the turnarounds continued throughout the day, despite traffic signs alerting drivers to the detour. Greg Frank say he parked and walked because it was easier than going through the detour.

"I just quit driving because I had to turn around eight times already it seems like today," he said.

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