Plans in works to reconfigure train traffic, add entrance to solve Ortega Hills train issues

A city council member has two plans to fix the traffic delays from stopped trains in Ortega Hills.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville city council member met with CSX officials Thursday to try and find a solution to train blockages in an Ortega neighborhood.

Two weeks ago, a train kept residents out of the Ortega Hills neighborhood for more than two hours.

City council member Jim Love said Ortega Hills is home to over 1,000 people. Hundreds of those people were stuck either heading in or out of the neighborhood.

Love met with CSX representatives to figure out how to solve the problem.

According to Love, CSX will be altering their train schedule. For instance, if there's an Amtrack train in the way, which was the case two weeks ago, CSX could slow down their trains. They could also shorten trains to take up fewer entrances and exits.

Love said he is interested in adding a third entrance. One plan Love supports would add that entrance at Yorktown Avenue, which would connect to the neighborhood through Cummings Lane.

"This is a large population that we cannot ignore, we have to listen to them because they want this exit," Love said.

There's still a lot of work ahead. Love said the city would need to buy the land and the plan would also need to be added to the upcoming budget.

The cost of the project also remains in question.

"I don't know what that number will be, hopefully it wont be too big, but certainly if it saves one life, it'll be worth it," he said.

The trains are more than an inconvenience, Love said. The trains could mean a life or death situation if it means emergency personnel cannot get to where they're needed.

"What if it kills one person, it rarely happens, kills one person, to me, that's the reason why we do it," he said.

If all goes as planned, the city could have the money for the new entrance by Oct. 1, which would mean a 2018 or 2019 completion date.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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