Jackson Street construction traps motorists in Tampa parking garage

- At the end of the workday, most people have places to be, errands to run, or kids to pick up. But bumper-to-bumper traffic and blocked intersections downtown are adding an extra hour to some drivers' commutes home.

For folks who park in the Bank of America Building’s garage, the trip down the ramp can be a nightmare.

"It is the most frustrating thing for everyone in the building," said Mary Jo Key.

"Bumper to bumper, intersection gets blocked, stuck in the garage," Candice Cason said.

Drivers tell FOX 13 News, traffic headaches and delays got worse when construction started along Jackson Street. The nearly $6-million FDOT project is adding a two-way, protected bike lane, upgrading sidewalks, and crosswalks, as well as replacing some drainage pipes.

The work is paused for the evening commute but the loss of one lane on the roadway creates a back-up onto Ashley Drive, and that jams up the only exit for the parking deck.

"Sometimes it can take 45 minutes just to get to that spot," Hank Pariseau said.

"Oh it's awful, it's horrific,” said Key. “There are times that I’ve spent two hours trying to get out."

"A lot of times we get stuck in here for over an hour, especially if you're on a higher floor, and it is terrible,” Cason said. “You gotta pick up your kids, you have an appointment to get to, you're in trouble."

Transportation officials tell FOX 13 News they met with business and office buildings along the corridor Wednesday to address concerns, and signal times have been adjusted to help with the congestion.

Last month, the complaints reached the ears of city leaders.

"I will tell you that if by June 7 the situation that's occurring now is still occurring, we are going to be in very, very deep trouble,” Tampa City Councilman Harry Cohen said. “Because I have heard some really bad stories."

Tampa City Council members want answers about the situation. A staff report is set to be presented at Thursday's meeting.

"It's gotta change, I mean, I can't believe people are not going to break leases to get out of this building," said Key.

FDOT says the construction work should be wrapped up by Labor Day.

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