Publish Date: 
Monday, January 26, 2015 - 5:45am

As of Jan. 26, downtown drivers will no longer be able to use Northwest Second Street to cross the Florida East Coast Railway tracks.

The crossing is being permanently closed as construction begins on All Aboard Florida's 60,000-square-foot Fort Lauderdale rail station. It will feature an 800-foot-long platform stretching from just north of Broward Boulevard to just south of Northwest Fourth Street.

Variable message signs warning of the closure will be placed in the area this week. Drivers will have to use either Broward Boulevard or Northwest Fourth Street as the closest east-west routes over the tracks.

Crossings at Datura and Evernia streets in downtown West Palm Beach were closed Jan. 5 to accommodate construction of a station there.

In another sign the All Aboard Florida project is moving forward, crews on Monday began laying the second mainline track near Hypoluxo Road in Palm Beach County. That section should be completed by the end of January.

"This represents the first major component of track construction for All Aboard Florida," said spokeswoman Ali Soule.

Next, crews will begin building a second track in Boca Raton.

"These projects are focused on improving specific sections of track and work will therefore not move continuously along the corridor in this initial phase," Soule said. "The work will not interfere with any pedestrian or vehicle traffic."

All Aboard Florida officials announced plans for a downtown Miami station that will include a 50-foot tall platform above the streets and nearly 3 million square feet in development surrounding the landmark hub. Plans also are in the works for stations in downtown Fort Lauderdale and downtown...

Both the Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach stations — plus a third in downtown Miami — are expected to be completed a few months before passenger trains begin running by the end of 2016. The leg to Orlando is set to open in 2017.