Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
Drivers and pedestrians may soon have an easier ride or walk across the railroad tracks at Ash Street to the Amelia River waterfront in downtown Fernandina Beach.
Despite rainy weather, repair crews from CSX/First Coast Railroad appeared to have been working to patch a badly eroded rail crossing at Ash and Front Streets this week. According to Rex Lester, City of Fernandina Beach Maintenance Manager, “First Coast [Railroad] had a broken rail that they had to replace.” The city is not involved in the project and is not financing the work.
While many people may have thought that this project was the beginning of a larger project to upgrade and repair the downtown Fernandina Beach railroad/waterfront appearance, the current work appears to be minimal repair work to address the most dilapidated rail crossing in the downtown area.
The issue of creating a “Quiet Zone” to address concerns of the local lodging establishments and patrons while increasing safety at the crossings was part of the Forward Fernandina plan abandoned earlier this year by the Fernandina Beach City Commission. There is no public indication that the city is actively pursuing that project at this time.
Water continues to pool in the track areas fronting buildings to the east of the tracks, due to drainage and continuing infrastructure problems in the area.
September 26, 2013 1:44 p.m.