Rock Hill officials were left scrambling Sunday afternoon when a section of Cherry Road near Winthrop University was closed for railroad repair.
Rock Hill and Winthrop police rushed to design detours and post signs on a section of four-lane Cherry Road between Constitution Avenue and Alumni Drive on the Winthrop campus, said Katie Quinn, city spokeswoman.
Meanwhile, some frustrated drivers tried to turn around or back up in the middle of Cherry Road.
"We didn't know anything about it until city staff were driving on Cherry Road," Quinn said. "We weren't informed in advance. Emergency dispatch officials were told after the road was closed."
The work on Cherry Road carried over into Monday, when lanes reopened after 5 p.m.
Norfolk Southern employees are replacing railroad ties and the foundation along 12 miles of track from Rock Hill to the AbitibiBowater plant near the York-Lancaster county line, said Susan Terpay of Norfolk Southern Corp.
Norfolk Southern is upgrading all the crossings in the area as part of routine maintenance.
Tracks need to be retimbered and resurfaced on a regular cycle, she said. Otherwise, they can get out of alignment, forcing trains to run slower. The new track ensures trains can run safely at optimum speed.
Routine maintenance is being done on 48 crossings in Rock Hill. A list of the crossings wasn't available from Norfolk Southern Monday.
Also, no Norfolk Southern official was available to explain the company's policy on notifying local authorities about road closings.
Next weekend, Norfolk Southern will again close a busy Rock Hill thoroughfare. Albright Road will be closed Sunday and Monday near East White Street for repairs at that crossing, said Dean Miller, Norfolk Southern track foreman.
Just like the work on Cherry Road this week, new railroad ties will be installed and the road will be resurfaced, he said.
Work is being started at the larger roads on Sundays to reduce the impact on traffic.
The company has already completed work on some crossings, including West Main Street at Dave Lyle Boulevard. Work continues on some side streets, including Confederate, Charlotte and Oakland avenues.
About 60 people are working on the resurfacing project, Terpay said. One mile of track has about 3,200 ties and 700 to 900 tons of ballast.