Street to close for two weeks

Published May 18, 2007

TAMPA - There's good news and bad news on road closures in and around downtown.

The bad news: Beginning tonight, Tampa Street will be closed for two weeks at Polk Street. That should lead to some traffic backups on the one-way thoroughfare, as well as nearby Ashley Drive, where vehicles will be detoured.

The good news: The closed section of Kennedy Boulevard just west of downtown reopened Thursday after two weeks of major inconveniences.

Tampa Street, like Kennedy, is being closed because railroad tracks there need to be replaced.

The street, a common route to the Tampa Convention Center and lower downtown, will be closed only at its intersection with Polk, which is near TECO Plaza and the newly constructed SkyPoint condo tower.

Crews will put in new railroad tracks and surround them with a rubber surface for cars to drive over, replacing a wooden surface that has worn away. Then they'll repave the street.

"It was one of the old timber crossings from way back, and the timbers have all rotted out, " said James Andrews, district railroad administrator for the state Department of Transportation.

The tracks are past due to be replaced, but officials waited until they were repaving the street.

The DOT has started a $9-million resurfacing of three downtown thoroughfares: Tampa and Jackson streets and Kennedy Boulevard. The repaving, mostly being done at night, should be done early next year.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at 813 226-3435 or brassfield@sptimes.com.