CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A traffic nightmare on Central Avenue Tuesday morning after a school bus with children on board became stuck on active train tracks in Plaza Midwood.
The railroad crossing on Central Avenue was scheduled to be worked on Wednesday, but the road was closed a day early, catching drivers off guard.
A number of drivers started cutting through parking lots to get around. A Charlotte-Mecklenburg School bus driver tried to follow, but became stuck on the tracks. A train had passed by earlier on the same tracks.
The bus driver was able to back up and free itself.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools says they became aware of the situation after seeing coverage on FOX 46 Charlotte.
"The district is investigating the events leading to school bus # 1627 maneuvering around a closed road barricade this morning at Hawthorne street, a practice that is strictly prohibited by CMS Transportation," the district said in a statement to FOX 46 Charlotte. "All 10 students on board the school bus were safety transported to First Ward Creative Arts Academy."
The bus driver has been suspended pending the outcome of CMS' investigation.
Statement from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools:
"The safety and well-being of students is a top priority across the district at CMS. The district is investigating the events leading to school bus # 1627 maneuvering around a closed road barricade this morning at Hawthorne street, a practice that is strictly prohibited by CMS Transportation. All 10 students on board the school bus were safety transported to First Ward Creative Arts Academy. The bus driver has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation."
"CSX is performing important maintenance work on the tracks and many of the crossings in and around Charlotte. Crews travel along the tracks replacing crossties as they go and repaving crossings to provide a safe, smooth surface for motorists. This work is scheduled in close coordination with local roadway authorities, but because of a miscommunication, several crossings closed a day earlier than announced. CSX regrets the confusion this caused morning commuters and we’re working to understand how the miscommunication happened. We work hard to provide accurate estimates of when such work is expected to begin, but crews may finish their work ahead of schedule or be delayed by a number of issues, including severe weather or mechanical issues on equipment. We appreciate the public's patience while crews complete this work, which is critical to ensuring the safety of motorists using these crossings and a safe, reliable freight rail network."
We're working to get results on why the road was closed early and if a detour route was available for drivers.