Jacksonville gets $17M grant to ease train delays, make crossings safer

Drivers frustrated over long waits at San Marco train crossing

By Brittany Muller - Reporter, Roxy Tyler - Web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla - Some relief may be coming to drivers frustrated over long waits at the San Marco railroad crossing. 

Mayor Lenny Curry on Friday announced a $17 million grant that he said will benefit Jacksonville and alleviate train-related traffic delays.

"It’s definitely a frustration working in and around the area it’s definitely a hassle," Maribeth Ashley, resident, said.

Curry said the grant, which was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, will help make railroad crossings safer. He said the grant will also ease delays near downtown.

Jack DeYoung created the twitter account @SanMarcoTrain mocking the contant delays and backups. 

"It always seems to happen at the most inopportune times so if you have an important meeting or you’re taking your wife on the date the train will be there and I will be 30 minutes and sometimes it’ll just stop," DeYoung said.

He posted this picture on the @SanMarcoTrain twitter page as he waited in traffic.

DeYoung has lived in Riverside three years and works in San Marco. He says the train holds him up at least three times a week.

Jokes aside, DeYoung is happy to hear the city has been awarded 17-million dollars to help alleviate the backups.

"I think it’s a great thing I mock It as the train but personally as someone who lives here it’s wonderful," he said.

The grant benefits the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program. The project was done in coordination with the City of Jacksonville, the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida East Coast Railroads (FEC) and CSX.

LINK: Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program

The project makes improvements to three components of the rail system in Northeast Florida. Specific components include:

  • Modernizing ten rail switches and the connective track primarily used by FEC traffic and Class I traffic.
  • Installation of a 7,000 foot staging track to eliminate congestion and hospital blockages
  • Upgraded signal and track at CSX/FEC Beaver Street interlocking
  • Installation of centralized traffic control improvements all all crossings and on over five miles of FEC track

A statement from JTA CEO Nathaniel Ford Sr. read in part:

Simply put, this project is a long time coming for Jacksonville and for those who live and commute to Downtown Jacksonville on a daily basis. ... We strongly believe these improvements to busy railroad interchanges near the urban core will enhance safety and mobility in Jacksonville and throughout the State of Florida.”

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