Some SunRail construction stopped due to safety violations

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CENTRAL FLORIDA —

Some construction on the SunRail line has come to a halt because of safety violations.

The violations stem from inspections done last week by the Federal Railroad Administration.

The sites were shut down last Thursday, and workers may not start construction again until the end of the week.

Communications systems weren't properly warning workers when a train was coming through, which alarmed federal investigators.

"The issue involved trains coming through the construction corridor and perhaps the safety of those crews being too close," said Steve Olson, Florida Department of Transportation spokesperson.

Federal officials had also been made aware of what local officials called a close call when an Amtrak train barreled through a construction zone a few months ago. FDOT officials couldn't immediately provide details of the incident.

As a result of last week's inspection, dozens of workers who were doubling tracks and working on platforms and railroad crossings were pulled off the projects last Thursday.

"In a way, this is a good thing that this happened because we're very concerned about safety on this corridor," Olson said.

WFTV went by six future SunRail stop locations on Monday where front-end loaders and bulldozers sat idle.

Olson said the workers are going through retraining and he hopes to have them back on the projects in the next couple of days.

"Did somebody mess up here? I don't know. I don't know if somebody did or not," Olson said. "Well, the fact that we don't have anyone out on the track right now shows that we need a refresher course."

FDOT officials could not put a price tag on the delay and retraining, but said their position is that the cost should be absorbed by the contractors, not picked up by taxpayers.

They said they don't think this problem will push back the project's March 2014 completion date.