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Section of Fletcher to close
The avenue will close for a month to repair railroad tracks east of Nebraska Avenue.
By AMBER MOBLEY
Published June 14, 2007
TAMPA - A section of E Fletcher Avenue may close for a month starting in July for repairs to the railroad tracks that cross it.
The CSX tracks on Fletcher, just east of N Nebraska Avenue, are "literally jumping up and down as cars go over them, " said Steve Valdez, a county spokesman. "It really is a safety concern."
CSX will fix the tracks. The county will rebuild the road section in an estimated $500, 000 project scheduled to go before the Hillsborough County Commission next week for approval.
County officials are proposing to close the road July 19 and reopen it Aug. 19. With public schools out and the University of South Florida between semesters, traffic will be at its lightest.
"But it's still going to be a very difficult situation, " Valdez said.
About 60, 000 vehicles drive Fletcher Avenue daily. With the impending road work, that traffic will detour onto other busy roads - Nebraska, Bruce B. Downs and E Bearss Avenue - as well as E 131st Avenue, a two lane road.
The dozen or so businesses within the proposed closure area are worried they'll lose customers.
Motorists will have access to the shops but the construction will make them harder to find, said Brian Kruck, manager of Tire Kingdom, which is near the railroad tracks.
"Nearly half of our customers are new customers who find us by just driving by, " Kruck said. "Safety is No. 1, of course, " he said of fixing the rails, "but this is going to drastically affect our bottom line."