Land O' Lakes residents 'trapped' by CSX construction

Image 1 of 5

Residents on Tower Road in Land O' Lakes are frustrated. They said construction on the railroad that crosses over their street has blocked the only way in and out of their neighborhood. 

“There’s no way to even go to the grocery store or do anything, we’re stuck,” said Brian Mathews, a resident on the street. 

Neighbors told FOX 13 they were given little warning before construction began on the tracks, leaving them stranded. 

“We knew this was going to happen, but we didn’t know we weren’t going to have access to get to and from our home to get to the other side,” said Lisa Simpson, another resident on the street. 

According to neighbors, the tracks have been completely impassable since Tuesday morning, leaving them without a way in or out of the street. 

“People went to work, and then they shut the tracks down before they could come home,” said Mathews. 

Some residents were unable to leave the street, while others were forced to park by the tracks and walk the mile and a half trek home if they couldn’t find a ride. 

“We basically were given less than 24 hours to figure out how to get a car on each side to get to and from our house that’s a mile away to work, school. And I pass through here five to six times a day, and I can’t do that,” said Simpson. 

Residents were temporarily using a private pasture to gain access to a side road, but they said that is no longer an option. 

“They said there’s too much liability for us to cross,” said Matthews. “So, they put a sheriff down there and a guard at the other gate.”

Neighbors said they’ve reached out for answers, but haven’t had much luck. 

However, in a statement to FOX 13, CSX said:

“As part of the company’s routine infrastructure maintenance program, CSX is conducting repairs on highway-rail grade crossings throughout Land O’ Lakes, FL. CSX has been closely coordinating with the county officials to complete crossing repairs at Tower Road, and we expect to re-open the crossing [Thursday] morning, barring any weather delays or other unexpected issues. CSX apologizes to community members who may be impacted by this and we appreciate the public's patience while we complete this important work, which is critical to ensuring the safety of motorists using these crossings and to maintaining a safe, reliable freight rail network.”

As of Wednesday evening, CSX had also begun work on a temporary road that would allow residents to cross the tracks with their vehicles. 

Pasco County told FOX 13 that CSX is completely over the construction project, however, the county does have a route through private property secured in case an emergency vehicle needs to access any of the homes on Tower Road. 

In the meantime, residents said that until the construction is complete, they will continue to band together as a community, assisting each other any way they can.