Saturday, July 13, 2013

22 Av N to close for railroad crossing replacement work

For those of you in St. Petersburg who use 22 Av N (Interstate 275's Exit 24) on a regular basis here is an upcoming detour that will start sometime around 8 AM on Monday, 15 July 2013 according to this City of St. Petersburg news release.
This is the CSX railroad crossing that is located on 22 Av N just west of Interstate 275.  This crossing is part of the CSX Clearwater Subdivision track and I have noticed that CSX has been upgrading the railroad crossings on the Clearwater Subdivision all over the place.
The major customer on the CSX Clearwater Subdivision is the St. Petersburg Times, who receives shipments of newsprint at their printing plant on 34 St N at 13 Av N by way of a spur track that connects into the main track.  Which leads me to wonder if the St. Petersburg Times (I prefer to refer to that name rather than the misnamed Tampa Bay Times, thank you very much) ever decides to move their printing plant elsewhere, what is going to happen to the CSX Clearwater Subdivision?  One idea would be the sale of the entire Clearwater Subdivision track to the Florida DOT to be used as a light rail or commuter rail corridor, with CSX retaining trackage rights to serve the customers that still receive goods via rail.
Besides, rail in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area - especially light and/or commuter rail - is good for our area.  And it is desperately needed if we want to compete with Orlando and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale as Florida's metropolitan areas.
The railroad crossing replacement work is expected to be completed by 18 July 2013, according to the City of St. Petersburg press release.  While the 22 Av N crossing work is taking place, you will want to consider using 38 Av N if you need to get to Interstate 275 from US 19 or 28 St N or vice versa.
I know, this may be a minor inconvenience when a closure has to take place.  However, in the end the railroad crossing at 22 Av N west of Interstate 275 will be a much better ride.