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Daytime work will close Route 1 for weeks in Colonial Heights. Why isn't it being done at night?

Posted at 5:30 PM, Jun 14, 2024

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- A section of Route 1 will be closed to traffic for several weeks in the City of Colonial Heights later this summer while work crews repair a CSX train trestle.

The work is scheduled to be done during the day, between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., and begin after the July 4 weekend.

The timing of the lane closures has concerned city leaders and business owners along Route 1, known in Colonial Heights as Boulevard.

"The city would absolutely like to minimize the impact of a road closure on Route 1," Colonial Heights Director of Public Works Todd Flippen said. "We will certainly continue to advocate that the work be done as efficiently and as quickly as possible."

Why was the potentially disruptive work scheduled to happen during the day when it could be less impactful to the community at night? It's a question the city asked the railroad company.

"We have been informed from C-S-X that they do not work at night," Flippen said.

Colonial Heights Director of Public Works Todd Flippen
Colonial Heights Director of Public Works Todd Flippen

In a statement (scroll down for the full statement) about the situation, CSX said it appreciated "the public's patience as we plan and complete this work, which is vital to ensuring the safety of motorists and a safe, reliable freight rail network."

City leaders have asked CSX to keep at least one travel lane available for use in case of an emergency.

“They have tentatively agreed," Flippen said.

Still, some business owners along Boulevard were surprised to learn about the work and its impact on their livelihoods.

"I was very surprised that we’re having a road shut down directly beside our property," David Darby, with Rent-E-Quip, said. "It's going to cut 50 percent of the travel into our parking lot. Theoretically, people can get here using other routes, but the inconvenience might cause them to go to a different company."

David Darby
David Darby

The City of Colonial Heights and CSX said detour signs would be in place when the road was shut down.

"I think they should try to do these repairs overnight when there’s limited traffic on the Boulevard," Susan Bishop, with Southern Touch Health Care Services, said. "I have major concerns because I think it’s going to impede people trying to get to us."

Susan Bishop
Susan Bishop

CSX said the safety of its crews work on the overhead bridge was a key consideration for the hours of the work.

An official timeline as to when the work and road closure will begin was still being worked out.

Complete Statement from CSX

CSX’s top priority is the safety of our operations, which includes the maintenance of our bridges and infrastructure. CSX invests heavily in the maintenance of our railroad, including upgrades and improvements to ensure the safe, reliable shipment of customer goods, and the safety of our employees and the communities where we operate.

While the project timeline has not yet been determined, the work will be scheduled in close coordination with the local road authority in order to temporarily close roads so that crews can safely complete the overhead bridge maintenance. Detour signage will also be installed along the route.

Railroad infrastructure maintenance like this is critical to minimizing service disruptions and preventing accidents and injuries. CSX appreciates the public's patience as we plan and complete this work, which is vital to ensuring the safety of motorists and a safe, reliable freight rail network.

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