Railroad construction to slow Clearwater drivers

- If you're headed to the country's best beach, plan extra travel time.  Traffic detours started shortly after 9 a.m. in downtown Clearwater and the impact has been described as "significant."

The closures affects Court Street and Chestnut Streets, the arteries between downtown Clearwater and Clearwater Beach.

TripAdvisor named Clearwater Beach the number one beach in the country this week.  The designation came after planned CSX railroad improvements in the area.

Court Street is expected to remain closed through Sunday at 11 p.m.  Chestnut Street is scheduled to close Friday, February 26 around 9 a.m. through Sunday, February 28t at 11 p.m. This impacts the stretches between South Myrtle Avenue and South Fort Harrison Avenue.

A section of the Pinellas Trail also remains closed both weekends from Cleveland Street south to Turner Street north. The Pinellas Trail will not be accessible between those two streets.

According to Clearwater police, five officers are scheduled to provide assistance to drivers navigating the traffic pattern changes. This weekend, Court Street drivers must detour to South Myrtle Avenue. Next weekend, Chestnut Street drivers must take Fort Harrison Avenue to avoid the construction.

Several events are scheduled for Coachman Park, including a Bryan Adams concert and the Sea-Blues Festival. Clearwater police are encouraging drivers to exercise patience and plan extra time for their commutes.

The Clearwater Ferry Service organizers tell FOX 13 their downtown Clearwater landing will not be impacted by the CSX railroad construction.

The improvements come ahead of heavy Spring Break travel, typically underway in March.

Residents with questions are urged to contact the Project Administrator with the Florida Department of Transportation at 727-798-9576.

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