WPTV NBC 5 – Tequesta train tieup raises concerns about All Aboard Florida
Posted on March 9, 2015
By Michelle Quesada
TEQUESTA, Fla. – Motorists in Tequesta were stalled in traffic for almost two hours Saturday. The railroad bridge near the Riverside Drive crossing was locked in an upright position causing a freight train to block all crossings until it was repaired.
16 freight trains cross all three of Tequesta’s railroad crossings every day, impacting local roadways for just minutes. But on Saturday Lauren Linn witnessed the worst case scenario.
“It took Tequesta Fire Rescue, it took them 45 minutes to get from Tequesta to Jupiter Medical Center,” said Linn.
She was following the ambulance transporting her 78-year-old mother to the hospital after a car accident. She was grateful the injury was not serious.
“It was bumper to bumper all the way to Tequesta down Country Club Drive. Cars were only going about 2 to 3 miles an hour,” added Linn.
Florida East Coast Railway says the Railroad Bridge was in a locked position and would not go down, causing a freight train to block the crossings at County Line Road, Tequesta Drive, and Riverside Drive.
“The whole town was literally shut down,” said Terry Buchecker who says her husband left his car at a store and walked home during the traffic jam.
Residents fear plans to use the tracks for 32 daily All Aboard Florida trains connecting Miami to Orlando will finish the worn out bridge for good.
“The concern is that with that bridge opening and closing that much more that would cause it to break down more frequently,” said Mayor Abby Brennan, Tequesta.
FECR maintains and operates the railroad bridge. It says All Aboard has committed to changing the gears on the bridge to make it go up and down faster. Mayor Brennan says it still means 30 more trains will be coming through the crossings.
A spokesperson for Florida East Coast Railway says they are working with the Mayor to put a second traffic light for the trains at the Riverside Drive crossing. If the bridge has another malfunction, the train would stop before the Riverside Drive tracks, leaving that crossing open to traffic.