Clearwater Beach traffic complicated by construction

- Travel around Clearwater Beach could go from bad to worse while CSX works to replace crossings downtown.

The city said the construction project was not its idea. CSX originally planned to do the work on State Road 60 last July, but other projects took much longer than expected. 

"They have limited resources to do this work. Like one company, or one crew," the city's Paul Bertels explained.  

The work commenced this weekend, the first really nice weekend in recent weeks, on the cusp of spring break, closing down the road to one of the world's most popular destinations: Clearwater Beach.

With detours in place and traffic cops on every corner, an estimated 60,000 motorists found their was to the island. 

"We thought we were about ten minutes from the hotel to here and it took us almost half an hour. It was a lot of traffic," traveler Jana Hirst of Argentina told FOX 13 News. 

Another visitor said he relied on his iPhone for a trip up from the south. 

"We came in from Siesta Key and all of a sudden it just stopped," he said. "We just had to fend for ourselves and wiggle wiggle around finally make it here."

Bertels estimated beach-bound drivers should plan on adding an extra 15 to 30 minutes to their travel times. 

"They just need to chill," he advised. "You know, listen to the music and chill and that'll get them through." 

Next weekend the challenge reverses, with the closure of Chestnut Street's railroad crossing.

"When Chestnut Street is closed, that's traffic leaving the beach," Bertels said. "I don't think that'll be as bad as traffic trying to get to the beach."

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