ARLINGTON - You get up in the morning and you aim your car toward its destination without even thinking. It's all a matter of habit.But for the time being, city officials are asking you to consider a new way to work, school, or your favorite coffee shop -- even if it seems out of the way.For the next five days, three railroad crossings near downtown Arlington will close to motorists as Union Pacific continues work on its $30 million project to renew the northern rail line between Fort Worth and Dallas.The Cooper Street crossing is set to close at 7 a.m., the North Center Street crossing is set to close at 9 a.m. and the Mesquite Street crossing is set to close at noon. Those three crossings will remain closed through Tuesday, city officials said.Because of the impact those street closings will have on Arlington's traffic patterns, city spokeswoman Rebecca Rodriguez encouraged motorists to consider detouring to rail crossings on the outer edges of the city, such as Interstate 820 to the west or State Highway 161 to the east."We're asking people to really think about their route. That means choosing one that may not seem the most obvious," Rodriguez said. "We are asking folks to go to a perimeter detour and work their way in as they travel around Arlington the next few days. While that might not sound like the most convenient way, in the long run it's probably the one that will save you the most time."City officials say they are preparing for the possibility that on Monday up to seven streets crossing the railroad tracks could be closed simultaneously if work on the Davis Drive crossing -- which closed Thursday -- isn't complete, Rodriguez said.The Collins Street and Stadium Drive crossings to the east of Mesquite are set to close Saturday and remain closed through Wednesday. The Great Southwest Parkway crossing in far east Arlington will close Monday and will remain closed through Feb. 3."We're grateful that it's a holiday weekend," Rodriguez said.The Cooper and Collins street crossings are the most heavily used, with about 60,000 and 45,000 vehicles a day respectively, according to the city. The Center and Mesquite crossings see about 10,000 and 6,000 vehicles a day respectively while that section of Stadium Drive sees about 18,000 vehicles daily.City officials didn't report any major traffic problems during by the first two rail crossing closures on Thursday.Arlington has worked for weeks to warn motorists about possible traffic disruptions caused by the Union Pacific project through its website, local media and electronic signs throughout the city."We haven't encountered too many people who are surprised by this project," Rodriguez said.Bowen Road closed briefly from about 8 a.m. to noon Thursday. The track there was set to be replaced during the project but will instead be replaced at a later date, city officials said."It closed without incident. It seemed to open without incident," Rodriguez said.The Davis Drive crossing closed at about 11 a.m. and is expected to reopen sometime Monday. About 15,000 vehicles a day travel that section of roadway.Access to businesses near the tracks will remain open during the project, Rodriguez said. Besides Interstate 820 and State Highway 161, motorists can cross the track in Arlington at West Green Oaks Boulevard, Forest Edge Drive, Fielder Road, West Street or Texas 360.Residents can get updates about the closures by calling 877-243-1350, visiting MyArlingtonTx.com/UP or following @CityofArlington.Susan Schrock, 817-709-7578Twitter: @susanschrock
Davis Street: closed through Monday.
Cooper Street: closed today through Tuesday.
North Center Street: closed today through Tuesday.
Mesquite Street: closed today through Tuesday.
Collins Street: Scheduled to be closed Saturday through Wednesday.
Stadium Drive: Scheduled to be closed Saturday through Wednesday.
Great Southwest Parkway: Scheduled to be closed Monday through Feb. 3.
Source: City of Arlington