TAMPA — A major thoroughfare will be cut in half next week, exiling South Tampa motorists to lesser roadways, so that CSX can replace its aging railroad tracks.
Dale Mabry Highway just north of Gandy Boulevard will be closed for a week beginning 9 a.m. Monday.
About 34,000 motorists pass through that section of Dale Mabry every day, said Kris Carson, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.
"Every time you shut down a road, it does cause a little bit of headache for citizens," she said.
Drivers will be detoured using Bay to Bay Boulevard and Manhattan Avenue. The closed lanes — between Gandy and Fair Oaks Avenue — are expected to reopen by Aug. 21.
The entrance to the Selmon Expressway off Dale Mabry will stay open during the construction.
CSX plans to replace the ties and rails and make the railroad crossing more level.
"We are rebuilding the crossing to smooth out the ride for motorists," said CSX spokesman Gary Sease.
The track is used by two trains, which serve the Port of Tampa, five days a week.
Some local businesses near the work area didn't know about the work and said they hope it does not discourage customers.
"This is slow enough as it is," said Kathy Morando, owner of Hello Beauty beauty salon on Dale Mabry, just south of Fair Oaks. Her clients coming from MacDill Air Force Base could be especially inconvenienced, she said.
Steve Karekos, owner of Gandy Barber Shop, said he hoped his customers don't get confused by the detours.
"It's going to be a problem," he said as he swept a pile of gray curls.
A state road project farther up Dale Mabry — the addition of two left-turn lanes at Watrous Avenue — is expected to wrap up next week.
CSX's rail work has resulted in smaller detours in other parts of the city since it began this month. Another large intersection closing, affecting 21st Street in Ybor City between Fifth and Seventh avenues, is expected in two weeks.
Jodie Tillman can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3374.