JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Nassau County residents told On Your Side they recently learned that several railroad crossings in their neighborhoods will be closed for repairs and they are not happy.
"We saw a post on Facebook yesterday from the Nassau County Road division," Matthew McDonald said.
McDonald and his neighbors live in the Tupelo Plantation and the only way in and out is across a set of tracks that could be closed for repairs.
He said while the crossing is closed for repairs it will leave them trapped.
"It is short notice and our children are going back to school next week," McDonald said, "It is the first week back to school and it is all going to be delayed because of that."
There are flashing signs on Crawford Road and Sandy Ford Road warning of the impending closures.
"This would completely block us in we couldn't go anywhere," he said.
For the residents it is not an issue of inconvenience, McDonald said there is a serious health concern.
"We have an individual who [has] had multiple heart attacks, he said. "If he received a heart attack they're telling us they are going to build a custom road with heavy machinery to build an emergency road. How long is that going to take?"
Nassau County Roads and Bridge Department B Jordan did not respond to our email.
The notice to residents states for Crawford Road they have proposed a detour to Brandies Ave/River Road. A road the community calls unkempt and dangerous.
"It is a dirt road that deteriorates constantly," he said.
The notice also advises residents along Beverly Ln, Sandy Ford Rd, CR119, Brooks Rd, Poder Ln, and Hambone Rd, to park their vehicles on the east side of the tracks while the crossing is being repaired.
In other words park and walk-in. It also means that parents may have to walk their children to the other side of the tracks to get them on the school bus.
"We have to get our children through a construction zone to deliver them to a bus driver," McDonald said. "How is that an acceptable offer?".
On Your Side reached out to CSX and a spokesperson provided the following statement:
CSX is conducting maintenance work on the company's rail line in Nassau County, Florida. This work has been scheduled in close coordination with local roadway authorities with viable detour routes in place in order to temporarily close roads as crews replace crossties and repave the asphalt to provide a safe, smooth surface for drivers. Temporary crossings will be provided for emergency response.
Starting Tuesday, CSX maintenance team will move along the rail line, repaving each crossing as they go. Crews will work through the night at the intersections of Sandy Ford Road and Crawford Road, which will be replaced as quickly as possible. The company understands that this work can affect communities, and CSX works to minimize inconveniences when feasible. We appreciate the public's patience while we complete this work, which is critical to ensuring the safety of motorists that use the crossings and a safe, reliable freight rail network.
McDonald said he understands the safety needs of the railroad, but how it was handled and how the residents are being treated is a classic example of very poor planning.
"We have been told tough luck this is going to happen," McDonald said.