Malfunction junction tampa florida

I-275 Bottleneck No More?

abdoney1 Florida, Tampa

We’ve all been there. Malfunction Junction during the morning rush hour. You end up late to work, miss a meeting and the boss is angry. On the way home it happens again, this time you miss your kid’s little league game, are late for dinner and settle for fast food before you get home. Both your spouse and kid are angry. Enough is enough. Right? Well, a fix is in the works for the famous Tampa I-275 Bottleneck but it’s not without controversy.

There is a plan for Interstate 275 through Hillsborough County that will aim to ease the congestion and includes possible toll lanes, a rebuilt West Shore Interchange and a wider highway. The multi-step project includes adding a lane to I-275 between Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and Bearss Avenue, which would allow for four lanes in each direction. Later, a lane will be added to the flyover ramp connecting southbound I-275 and Interstate 4.

Although state officials are saying this is just a small part of a very long process, opponents are worried committing to this portion will mean lesser alternatives down the road. More importantly, neighborhood advocates are becoming increasingly alarmed about the impacts on urban sections of downtown. While opponents of the plan agree something needs to be done, they feel adding more lanes and vehicles is not the best way to go. The divide between regional interests and urban neighborhoods has existed for years, as traffic congestion has worsened.

Florida Department of Transportation officials understand people live in the area, but say these are not neighborhood local roads, and that it has been too long of ignoring the problem. The Tampa Bay Partnership’s recent survey indicated more than 80 percent supported adding more lanes to I-275 north of downtown to Bearss Avenue.

The state also previously planned to add toll lanes to the interstate in Tampa Bay but backed off and agreed it would not add toll lanes on I-275 north of downtown Tampa. This next critical vote, however, would formally approve that change, removing all talk of adding toll lanes.

Residents in the area don’t want the lanes expanded at all, regardless if they are tolled or free. Hundreds of people turned out to a public hearing in March where a great majority opposed the project and asked the state not to expand the highway. They fear serious damage to the fabric of the neighborhood. State officials argue the lanes will improve safety making the area better for all. The state has already allocated $80 million in 2023 to expand the interstate to four lanes from Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd to Hillsborough Avenue but this next portion leading up to Bearss is critical to the overall success of easing congestion.

State officials maintain if this project is voted down, it won’t be able to move ahead with any improvement in this section of roadway. If the plan is approved by voters, a public workshop would take place later this summer. If the leaders do not vote to advance the projects, it would prevent officials from seeking money and could delay the project long-term.

We all realize Tampa has a traffic problem and it needs a solution. At issue is exactly how is the best way to accomplish this without severely impacting neighborhoods and adding even more pollution. The upcoming vote and discussions will pave the way ahead, one way or another. We’ve all been there. Malfunction Junction during the morning rush hour. You end up late to work, miss a meeting and the boss is angry. On the way home it happens again, this time you miss your kid’s little league game, are late for dinner and settle for fast food before you get home. Both your spouse and kid are angry. Enough is enough. Right? Well, a fix is in the works for the famous Tampa I-275 Bottleneck but it’s not without controversy.

There is a plan for Interstate 275 through Hillsborough County that will aim to ease the congestion and includes possible toll lanes, a rebuilt West Shore Interchange and a wider highway. The multi-step project includes adding a lane to I-275 between Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and Bearss Avenue, which would allow for four lanes in each direction. Later, a lane will be added to the flyover ramp connecting southbound I-275 and Interstate 4.

Although state officials are saying this is just a small part of a very long process, opponents are worried committing to this portion will mean lesser alternatives down the road. More importantly, neighborhood advocates are becoming increasingly alarmed about the impacts on urban sections of downtown. While opponents of the plan agree something needs to be done, they feel adding more lanes and vehicles is not the best way to go. The divide between regional interests and urban neighborhoods has existed for years, as traffic congestion has worsened.

Florida Department of Transportation officials understand people live in the area, but say these are not neighborhood local roads, and that it has been too long of ignoring the problem. The Tampa Bay Partnership‘s recent survey indicated more than 80 percent supported adding more lanes to I-275 north of downtown to Bearss Avenue.  So although local residents and local Tampa businesses tend to agree that something needs to be done it appears the minority is the most vocal in this war of words.

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abdoney1I-275 Bottleneck No More?