Heads up, downtown Arlington is in for some road closures. This time around, though, the city should have a lot less to worry about. Union Pacific will be replacing the tracks that strike through the center of downtown Arlington. From January 16th to the 24th, the company plans to lay rail along a 13-mile stretch running parallel to Division Street. In 2013, a similar project had Arlingtonites up in arms, but Union Pacific says they have made several adjustments to keep this project from feeling like deja vu.
To start, the rail company hired local construction workers to fix the outdated train tracks and surrounding concrete in the intersections, removing the need for the noisy TRT909. This large machinery caused a large portion of the sound from the last update, so its absence should help in that regard. That's not to say there won't be any noise. Because the worker's safety is concerned, the trains will be blowing their horns, even in quiet zones. Even then, hearing a horn every hour or so is far less of an intrusion than continuous machinery.
Union Pacific also aimed to be less invasive to road traffic. By working only between the hours of 7 pm and 4 am, they hope to avoid traffic jams and daily commutes. So as not to impede the roads even further, the company plans to close only two rail-road intersections at a time. For example, Center Street and Mesquite may close for two days, but crossings such as Cooper Street and Collins will remain open. Two roads are going to open when two are closed for repairs.
Track renewals are difficult in populated areas, especially when several roadways provide unlimited obstacles in the shape of cars. This time around, precautions have been taken, and we can only hope they work. The city hopes that better communication will be the final piece to the puzzle, and plans to warn of closures and post updates to their Twitter. Email updates are also available at MyArlingtonTX.com. And of course, we at Downtown Arlington will do our best to keep you informed through our Twitter and Facebook.