A camera truck from the Virginia Department of Transportation snaked its way through the storm drain under Norfolk Southern railroad tracks Monday morning, March 27, and recorded evidence that the brick structure holding up the tracks is secure.
"We can see an existing brick railroad hemispheric structure that would have been used to transport water under the tracks," said Bob Driscoll, resident administrator for VDOT in Fairfax County.
For the past few weeks, Clifton Mayor James Chesley has been working to find out if the tracks, located above cracked storm water drains on Main Street, were in danger of caving in, which could have caused a train derailment.
After traveling about 31 and a half feet down a storm water drain to the base of the brick structure, the robot camera became stuck in mud and couldn't proceed further.
"All the bricks look to be in good shape," Driscoll said. "The tracks look fine."
When the truck was moved farther down the road and the camera redirected toward the train tracks from just south of Chapel Road, the camera was able to go about 76 feet before becoming stuck in the mud again. Some areas of the storm water drain had cracks in them.
The brick structure was included on a map from 1916 made by a train company, Driscoll said, which "clearly states that it is a railroad structure," he said.
Residents of Clifton can breathe easy about the concerns over the tracks caving in, Driscoll said.
Clifton vice-mayor Brant Baber, who joined the VDOT crews in watching the robot work, said as long as the camera didn't find a hole in the brick under the track, "we're happy campers."