Green Light for Florida DOT $1.4B Interchange Projecteditor@aashto.org November 1, 2019 0 COMMENTS
Governor Ron DeSantis officially gave the green light on October 24 to the Florida Department of Transportation’s $1.4 billion plan to reconstruct the I-275/SR 60 Westshore Area Interchange in Tampa; a project set to begin in fiscal year 2023-2024.
The reconstruction of this major system-to-system interchange in the Westshore Business District – the largest employment center in Tampa – will help alleviate traffic congestion, improve safety for motorists, and promote continued economic growth.
According to a statement by Florida DOT Secretary Kevin Thibault, as the Westshore area is home to Tampa International Airport, two professional sports facilities, and more than 4,000 businesses, it is “where commuter, cargo, and tourism traffic converge” in the city.
“As our population continues to increase, we remain committed to improving our transportation infrastructure through strategic innovation,” said Governor DeSantis added.
“By significantly relieving traffic congestion, this reconstruction project will provide motorists a more effective way to travel through the region,” he said. “Additionally, it will add capacity for future growth and improve connectivity for Tampa’s residents, businesses and visitors.”
This I-275/SR 60 Westshore Area Interchange project will connect the Howard Frankland Bridge, the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Veterans Expressway and Tampa International Airport with additional general purpose and express lanes.
This project has been identified as the number one regional transportation priority by local metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), county commissions and city councils in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties. It will also allow for the Westshore interchange to be coordinated with the reconstruction of the Howard Frankland Bridge, Flordia DOT said, which will begin next year.
The agency added that, at a local level, this highway reconstruction project will provide a “significant benefit “to the walk/bike network and traffic circulation in the Westshore Business District by reconnecting local streets beneath the interstate to relieve traffic congestion on Westshore Boulevard and improve community access.
“[This project] at the heart of our region [is] a lynchpin connection where major arteries converge and provide access to Tampa International Airport and one of Florida’s largest job districts,” said Beth Alden, executive director of the Hillsborough County MPO.
“The Florida DOT is clearly listening to our community with a design that improves local street connections and walk/bikeways as well as fixing the highway bottleneck, a top priority of this region’s MPOs for many years,” she added.