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Blue Line Testing Resumes After Crossing Arm Troubles

David Boraks
CATS Blue Line light rail extension will open March 16, running from 7th Street Statoin uptown (shown here) to UNC Charlotte.

Test trains are running again on the Blue Line light rail extension from uptown to northeast Charlotte, after problems with crossing gates forced a temporary halt Wednesday. Charlotte Area Transit System says the issue won't affect the planned March 16 start of service on the new line.

CATS says the trouble began around 3 p.m. Wednesday, when an unspecified technical issue in a safety system caused all crossing arm gates to close along the 9-mile extension. Drivers and pedestrians were urged to find alternate routes and to avoid crossing the tracks while the arms were down. The gates were back in the up position by 5:30 p.m.

In a midday statement Thursday, CATS apologized for "the inconvenience" and said: "The fail-safe system acted as it was designed to, protecting pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic, as well as the rail right-of-way. The root cause of this issue is still being investigated."

CATS canceled a planned preview ride for media that had been scheduled Thursday.

David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.