Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo will have to pay big bucks to fix CSX railroad crossing

Rubber mats bolted to the ground are supposed to keep the road level. The mats have buckled in West Bay Drive’s westbound lanes.


Rubber mats bolted to the ground are supposed to keep the road level. The mats have buckled in West Bay Drive’s westbound lanes.

LARGO — Gary Nelson was driving to his chiropractor's office a few weeks ago when he felt it. His car shook on West Bay Drive like it had just run over a pothole.

It wasn't a pothole that jolted Nelson, though. It was the railroad crossing. And he wasn't the first driver to feel that jolt.

Nelson's chiropractor is City Commissioner Woody Brown. When Nelson got to Brown's office, he joined the small group of people who have asked Brown over the last six months some form of this question: "When is CSX going to fix the problem with the railroad crossing on West Bay Drive?"

"Right in the middle of the heart of your city that you're trying to beautify, and you have this huge pothole no one's taken care of," said Nelson, 42, a Largo resident who works in construction.

Fixing it won't be cheap, though. Raising the tracks and installing a concrete structure to level the road will cost $150,000 to $175,000, according to City Manager Mac Craig. And transportation company CSX says Largo needs to pay for it.

The crossing is lined with rubber mats bolted to the ground that are supposed to keep the road level. The mats have buckled in West Bay Drive's westbound lanes, though, creating a valley between the tracks.

City staffers have photographed the damaged mats and videotaped cars rolling over the tracks. They noticed drivers in the left lane swerving to avoid the bump between the tracks.

"It's dangerous," said Brown. "It needs to be fixed before it starts hurting people's cars, or we see people running into the curb trying to avoid it."

That price tag could hold up any solution, though. CSX spokesman Gary Sease explained, via email, why any project to fix the crossing will be paid for by Largo taxpayers, not the railroad company.

"Each crossing is covered by an agreement that spells out responsibility for the cost of maintenance and repairs. Those responsible can be the state of Florida, a county or city, or CSX. West Bay Drive is the responsibility of the city of Largo, according to the agreement," Sease wrote.

There is another crossing just a few hundred feet away from West Bay Drive, on Seminole Boulevard, that is the state's responsibility, according to Sease. The department of transportation will pay $500,000 to replace that crossing this summer, according to spokeswoman Kris Carson.The decision whether or not to pay for fixing the West Bay Drive crossing will need to be made by the City Commission, according to Jonathan Evans, assistant to the city manager. The city is still in negotiations with CSX on when the work could be done, Evans said.

Regardless of who pays for the project, Brown said the work needs to be done.

"It'd be nice if CSX helped in the expense of fixing their railroad crossing," Brown said. "But it needs to be fixed."

Nelson agreed with Brown. He also agreed, however, that $150,000 is a lot of money.

"Holy cow," he said. "That's a big chunk of change."

Will Hobson can be reached at (727) 445-4167 or

Largo will have to pay big bucks to fix CSX railroad crossing 02/14/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 4:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Shakeup on Adam Putnam campaign


    In a sign of unsteadiness for what  had  looked like a strong-out-of-the-gate Adam Putnam campaign, the Republican frontrunner suddenly fired his campaign manager and political director. Hard-charging Campaign manager Kristin Davis and political director Jared Small were two of the three outsiders to join …

    Putnam campaigning in Destin the other day as part of his 22-city bus tour
  2. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  3. Tampa man arrested for killing man in his USF-area home


    TAMPA — A Tampa man was arrested Monday in the death of man found killed at a home in the University of South Florida area last week, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    Kadeem Dareem Archibald, 26, was arrested Monday on a  second degree murder charge in the University Area killing of Khando Kerr. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Report: Trump asked intel chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence


    President Donald Trump asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, the Washington Post reports, citing current and former officials.

    From  left, CIA Director Mike Pompeo; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers take their seats on Capitol Hill on May 11 before  testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S. [Associated Press]
  5. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”