Drivers on Arlington Blvd. in Greenville will soon get a train-track break.
The railroad crossing near J.H. Rose High School has a tendency to cause some irritating traffic backups. Conductors switch train cars there and it often stops traffic – usually when you're in a hurry.
The first thought that pops into ECU student LeeAnn Conyers' mind is: "Why me? Just why?"
"For decades the big excuse when you're late for a meeting or work is ‘I got stuck by the train on Arlington and Evans!" says Mayor Allen Thomas.
Every day more than 50,000 drivers cross these tracks where CSX freight trains often block the road for up to 30 minutes at a time.
"The longest I've waited at a train was about 25 minutes," says Kia McKinney, an ECU student who lives near the tracks. "And that was on the bus on the way to class so I was late."
On one of the busiest roads in the city, it doesn't take long for traffic to back up all the way to the Evans Street intersection.
Mayor Thomas says it isn't just an inconvenience, but a threat to public safety.
"We're a major medical city and when your city is literally cut in half because of back-ups for train activity, ambulances and medical care becomes an issue," he says.
For nearly a decade city leaders like him have worked to find a solution. Their ideas will finally come to fruition in two weeks when the Dept. of transportation moves the CSX switching yard to Staton Mill Road north of the city.
"90 percent of our switchyard traffic which was happening in Greenville will now happen out in the northern Pitt area," Mayor Thomas says.
Which means you're going to have to find another excuse next time you're late for work.