Detour Alert! CSX Will Rebuild Downtown Rail Crossings Mid-June

EXTREME DETOUR everyone. This should be a fun time for Decatur commuters.

That said, we should also take the long view and remember that this rebuild is a LONG time coming. (I have posts on this dating back to at LEAST 2009!  Man. I’m getting old.)

From the city’s Decatur Makeover website

Details are still being finalized but now’s the time to start planning ahead: Effective the morning of Monday, June 19, CSX will begin rebuilding their crossings at Candler and McDonough Streets.

Work will continue uninterrupted until its completion which is projected to take roughly seven days. Both intersections will be closed and will remain closed until the work is finished.

A detour map will be posted here during the week of June 12 so stay tuned.

Project details

This collective project, including rail crossings at both McDonough and Candler, will significantly improve accessibility and safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, further encouraging those who live in Winnona Park, the McDonough-Adams-Kings Highway community, and other neighborhoods south of the CSX rail corridor to walk and bike into downtown Decatur.

 The improvements will provide gentler slopes on the north side of both crossings resulting in an accessible path for persons in wheelchairs or those using strollers, and a much safer route located outside the railroad crossing gates for pedestrians and bicyclists. Presently, pedestrians and bicyclists have to share the roadway with vehicles at these crossings.

In addition to improvements at the crossings, there will now be new pedestrian crosswalks where none presently exist — on the east side of both intersections and just north of the Candler crossing connecting to the sidewalk along the old Depot property.

Finally, improved vehicular mobility is also a project priority. Both crossings will include new traffic signals on both sides which will allow protected left turns on all legs of the two crossings.

You can view the schematics in the original post.

Photo courtesy of Joel

21 thoughts on “Detour Alert! CSX Will Rebuild Downtown Rail Crossings Mid-June”


  1. Great news! Glad this is being done in the summer! It would have been a nightmare if it occurred during the school year.

  2. It will be nice to have all work finished in seven days (plus any delays), but would it not have made sense to stagger them? Or does having even one of them blocked create enough of a disruption that the incremental effect of doing the second simultaneously is worth the shorter duration?

    1. By doing both intersections at the same time, CSX only has the rail line down for 7 days, instead of 14 or more if they were staggered. If greater inconvenience for Decatur residents was the price needed to pay to get CSX to cooperate after 7-8 years, then it is well worth it.

  3. Wait… at Candler? Didn’t they already do that intersection 2-3 months ago? I’m confused.

      1. That’s right. It’s a crazy number of moving parts. The city raising the grade on Trinity and doing stormwater infrastructure replacement; Dekalb County doing sanitary sewer replacement; CSX doing the crossing; GDOT, I believe, managing the intersection with College Avenue; and Dekalb County doing the new traffic signals.

  4. Too much!!!! My tenants have customers on McDonough & Howard. Two separate locations. I am not sure how long they can be without their income streams and still pay rent. I hope this ends soon.

      1. Doesn’t that just shift the economic impact of the work from the tenants to the landlord? What if that means the landlord then can’t meet its obligations? I guess it could request a bit of grace from its creditors, but where does that chain end?

        1. I think it’s about sharing hardships…. Does the landlord .need to charge full rent during this time? If the landlord hopes to keep good tenants and they are having difficulty due to circumstances out of their control, then it would make good business sense to cut some slack if possible

          1. I think that’s fair. I just want to avoid the assumption that landlords always have deep pockets so of course they can weather things like this whereas a tenant cannot. Not accusing anyone of saying that, but I’ve seen it implied many times before.

    1. Thanks MPO. Most in Decatur are not familiar with all the traffic restrictions imposed on the E. Howard, McDonough, E. Maple and Church Street square over the last fifteen years. Many of these decisions favored bikers and walkers over businesses. First was adding a bike lane (construction blocked business traffic for months). Then E. Howard was made one way from the E. Trinity entrance. Not long ago, vehicular traffic was restricted again when a no left turn was added at E. Trinity and E. Howard. On top of all these restrictions has been the constant lane closures, access restrictions due to sewer and storm drain work and most recently, the McDonough Street renovation. How businesses in this area have held on so long is quite an accomplishment.
      Do you remember that scene from one of the Godfather movies where the Family sent a message to the Hollywood director? Maybe someone is telling you, “Get the hell out so Mr. Big Money can redevelop this area!”
      It’s a message you may not be able to refuse.

  5. I was eagerly awaiting Ammazza to open, and I asked them the other day what is going on, they said they can’t open until all the construction is done in that area. Seriously, whomever is doing all these projects need to get it done ASAP — those businesses have had enough. We re-built I-85 in weeks and put a man on the moon. Yet no one seems to see the importance of getting these projects done quickly and efficiently.

    1. As Scott says, many moving parts and some move at different speeds than others. I-85 was one project, one contractor and one project manager.

    2. Seems a bit unfair to say that no sees the importance to finish.

      I am often shutting down parts of my company for various reasons, which affects many of my coworkers ability to do their jobs. No matter how well planned I may be, it’s never the perfect time, things can go wrong or pop up that need to be dealt with.

      Trust me, it’s not any fun running into an issue that causes a delay or further inconvenience. I assure you, anyone who does that kind of work takes it very seriously and tries to be as efficient as possible, without sacrificing safety.

      Please try to be mindful that you likely don’t have all of the details on why the orange cones are still blocking the road.

  6. Will pedestrians be able to cross at these intersections when they are closed to traffic? Asking out of concern for a non driving acquaintance (I will be away most of that week or I would volunteer rides).

      1. I realized that later–I think I blocked out that crossing because it’s not as safe crossing college there.

  7. 7 days. Let’s say 10, just for buffer. Many businesses on what is now a beautiful downtown square suffered for a very long time to have the Decatur MARTA plaza completed. I hope those who were able to weather that storm found it to be worthwhile and now enjoy a near continuous customer stream, but public works projects that have long term benefits (water line replacement, bridge repair, etc.) are not accomplished without a disruption to someone somewhere. This is just our turn and I am glad it will be done so quickly.

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