Work continues at several rail crossings in Ocean Springs

CSX closing multiple railroad crossings in Ocean Springs

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Several crossings in Ocean Springs remained closed Wednesday morning as CSX continued its work on the scheduled maintenance.

The work, which was set to start Monday morning at 3 a.m., was delayed by a day.

On Wednesday, traffic was more congested than it usually is by 6:15 a.m. and expected to get worse as school drop-offs began.

Several of the CSX crossings are near schools, including the crossing at Highway 57 just north of Ocean Springs High, as well as Bechtel and Holcomb Boulevard by both Ocean Springs Upper Elementary and Oak Park Elementary.

The crossings at Hanley Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Road will also close this week.

School officials are advising parents to prepare ahead of time and leave early if necessary to give themselves more time.

“Just leave as early as you can to make sure you can get your student to school on time,” said Trey Brennan, Ocean Springs School District Communications and Multimedia Coordinator.

According to Brennan, these are some of the major railroad crossings in Ocean Springs.

“These are some of our major railroad crossings that they’re going to be closing and all of them are right near one of our schools,” said Brennan. “And we’re still going to have to do our daily temperature checks before each student, and staff member arrives on campus.”

Ocean Springs Schools are preparing the best way they can to avoid a traffic nightmare. Also, school officials said they won’t punish any student for being late to school due to the closures.

Work was originally scheduled to begin Monday, but CSX told WLOX the train carrying equipment to perform the track maintenance did not arrive on schedule, meaning track work would be delayed another day.

“We don’t have any control over this and neither does the city, so we’re all at CSX’s mercy so we just all got to work together and hope for a smooth week,” said Brennan.

Parent Kate Szkolnick is concerned.

“I have a teenage driver, so you have teenage drivers that are also trying to get to class on time,” said Szkolnick. “School just started and they’re learning trying to detour, so I have concern from a safety perspective as well as just the inconvenience overall.”

Szkolnick said she wishes the work was done at a more convenient time for schools and drivers.

“I really wish the railroad companies would work more toward trying to do a not rush time, trying to wait til everyone gets to work, gets to school,” said Szkolnick.

We reached out to CSX and in a statement they said:

“While this type of track work is only conducted every 7-10 years, it is important for the safety of the community, our operations and CSX employees. This track work is scheduled as part of a system-wide process using specialized equipment that travels across the country, not just along the CSX network so unfortunately, we do not have the flexibility that we may have if the work was being conducted by local teams. We do our best to work safely and expediently to minimize the impact to communities in which we operate and apologize for any inconveniences. Notification was made in advance and should take no more than four days to complete in Ocean Springs.”

CSX said every effort will be made to complete the work on MLK Avenue promptly because it’s a main thoroughfare. CSX also said Holcolmb and Bechtel should reopen by end of day the next day, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

CSX added that Hanley Road only needed to be resurfaced only after the work is completed on the other crossings.

According to CSX, Highway 57 will be closed for one day during the Monday through Wednesday window.

The following crossings should remain open: Porter Avenue, Cox Avenue, Church Street, Washington Avenue, Thorn Avenue, Ocean Springs Road, and The Park Entrance.

All work is expected to be done by Friday.

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