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Relief Comes Tuesday For Commuters In Roanoke After Train Derailment

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ROANOKE (CBS11) - Worries Monday evening about how long a major road will remain closed because of a train derailment near Roanoke were eased somewhat by word there would be some temporary openings of the highway for traffic.

Drivers are making a time-consuming detour around Highway 377 in Roanoke from Bobcat Boulevard to SH 1171. The closure has been costly for businesses like the O'Riley Auto Parts on the south end of the shutdown.

"It's been cut in half or more because we have a lot of commercial accounts that used to be five, 10 minutes down the road now are taking 35 or 30 minutes to get it," said store employee Brent Lancaster.

That's because between the barricades and where Brent Lancaster needs to get his parts there are demolition crews swarming over 26 mangled rail cars. The train derailed off of a bridge that runs parallel to 377. Now the highway is a staging area for massive equipment removing the train cars.

While they work to dismantle and move the broken freight cars, traffic that normally flowed up 377 was diverted into the already congested highway 114, over to Interstate 35W and back to 1171.

"It's slowing them down, it's slowing us down," Lancaster said. "And its costing a lot of money for a lot of different people."

The Northwest ISD had to reroute buses to several of its schools. Delays were kept to between 20 and 40 minutes, according to district sources. The road is scheduled to reopen for just a few hours during the morning commutes on Tuesday but the district is ready if those plans change.

"You Come into it with -- we don't call it a challenge we call it opportunity," spokesperson Emily Conklin said. "And we know when we're walking in that we are not sure what we're walking into. We are just glad I did almost in some states that all of our students are saved iMessage I guess but that's the biggest priority that we have is making sure our students are safe."

The road is scheduled to open Tuesday from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. for the morning commute and 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for the afternoon commute.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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