San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

August 16th, 2011
Heat blamed for rush-hour railroad crossing malfunction


A Union Pacific spokesperson says extreme heat caused railroad crossing malfunctions that brought traffic on and around Aquarena Springs Drive to a halt for nearly an hour and a half Monday afternoon.

Triple-digit temperatures caused electronics in a crossing signal box to overheat, lowering the arms on crossings at Post Road, Charles Austin Drive and Aquarena, a major thoroughfare between Interstate 35 and Texas State University.

After the police department notified Union Pacific, it took a signal maintainer 25 minutes to arrive and nearly an hour to reset the equipment, said Raquel Espinoza, a spokesperson for the railroad company. The faulty signals were repaired by 5:30 p.m.

The malfunction crossings snarled traffic and caused chaos for hundreds of motorists stuck waiting for trains that weren’t there. Said Espinoza, “We realize this was an inconvenience for drivers and appreciate everyone’s patience as we worked through the situation.”

San Marcos streets and highways cross railroad tracks in 68 places within the San Marcos limits, bringing automobile and pedestrian traffic to a standstill periodically. A train count the city conducted in 2005 recorded an average of more than 30 trains passing through on three separate days. The city’s first railroad overpass opened on Wonder World Drive in 2006.

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10 thoughts on “Heat blamed for rush-hour railroad crossing malfunction

  1. The freaking San Marcos city is so poor that it can’t have money for building bridges on the main rail/roads crossings! Where does my money go?

  2. That project was to be built entirely by TxDot and was very close to happening when TxDot funding was cut by the legislature. My understanding was they had all the ROW they needed. Aquarena leaving town is one of the most congested roadways in town. I would like to see the city widen Mill Street and promote it as a relief route now that it extends out to the I-35 frontage road. Mill and Uhland needs to be a 4-way stop. Uhland should be rerouted to connect to the I-35 frontage further north. All it takes is money. And courage. Maybe Mayor Danny can look into it.

  3. TXDOT only further complicates things. My point, although I didn’t have more than a half second to make it, is that is it much more complicated than just whether or not the city has the money. That overpass is going to be a PITA to get done, and I’m not completely convinced it will happen, although in recent years we seem to have started to build some momentum. I can’t say if we have the ROW or not. I recall hearing that the university agreed to provide it, but I’ve heard that same story about a lot of stuff that never seems to pan out. Much smaller stuff.

  4. A bypass would also relieve some of the congestion on Aquarena Springs, and take traffic to an overpass that has already been built…

  5. John,

    Your city tax dollars goes to police, fire, EMS, road maintenance, water, sewer treatment, parks and recreation, libraries. You know, inconsquential stuff.

  6. Winchester,

    I agree, but liabilty concerns keeps them from unbolting the arms or propping them up. That is the kind of society we have created for ourselves.

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