Courtney Campbell upgrades cause traffic headaches

- If you drive the Courtney Campbell Causeway, you may have noticed a lot of construction work. 

A new bridge is being built, but it won't impact the flow of traffic. The goal is to get the water flowing.

There's always a lot of action near the Courtney Campbell Causeway. It's a heavy commuter route, a popular spot to run or bike, and gives folks access to the bay.

Most people who spend time on the water in this area, know Old Tampa Bay has some water quality issues.

"That water's completely stagnant all the time in the summertime,” Brian Ikert said. “The trail that runs along there smells, you can see it decays over the summer."

"Every now and then it does let off a distinct smell, it is a little foul," said Jeremy Egly.

They are problems that have plagued the area for years. So now the Florida Department of Transportation is doing something about it.

"We're creating a channel through the causeway," said FDOT Community Outreach Manager, John McShaffrey.

He says workers are building a 230-foot-long flat bridge West of Ben T Davis Beach., and dredging out a channel underneath it.

Right now there are flashing signs, orange construction cones, and some traffic pattern changes.  There will also be some nighttime lane closures over the next few weeks. But the project is all about getting water flowing.

"On that end of the causeway, it’s really been blocked for a long time, so we're hoping that that circulation will increase and that will help flush out the bay more, it will enhance the growth of seagrasses and enhance the marine life as well," McShaffrey said.

Folks we spoke with along the causeway think the $12-million bridge construction is worth it for the health of the bay.

"Be nice to help the sea creatures, and just make the water quality better," said Egly.

"That's great, I'm an industrial engineer, I actually started out in environmental engineering, so I’m all about protecting, helping the environment," Daniel Constant said.

FDOT plans to keep the pedestrian trails along the causeway open during construction. The project should be finished by summer 2019.

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