FDOT pitches more changes for 'Malfunction Junction'

Big changes could be on the way for a busy section of Tampa highway. FDOT released new animations showing four design concepts for a rebuilt downtown interchange.

The ideas focus on the interchange between Interstate 275 and Interstate 4, with proposed fixes to a well-known traffic problem spot.        

Four 10-minute videos were released last week after FDOT held two public workshops on the project and study. The conceptual plans were first introduced in 2017, but nothing is expected to become a reality any time soon.

Still, the animated fly-throughs give a detailed look into just how many changes could be coming for the roadways, including the so-called malfunction junction interchange.

"There's so much traffic and it’s a parking lot most of the time," said Claudia Anderson.

"The traffic slows up so bad it's just at a crawl," Earnest Jones said.

Both options A and B propose completely reconstructing the downtown interchange, adding express lanes, and many more ramps and bridges.

"I think it's important to try to find a solution, but cause the least damage to the people who live around," said Graciela Perez.

Options C and D would keep the existing interstate roadways and add elevated express lanes. These plans are considerably less expensive and have smaller footprints.

While not all traffic headaches are fixed, all four ideas include adding a second lane to the exit ramp from southbound I-275 toward I-4.

The proposals follow a years-long rebuild of the interchange that was just completed a few years ago.

"You’ve got more people on these interstates and interchanges than ever, especially in the morning and in the evening trying to get to work and trying to get home," Jones said.

"I try to avoid them as much as I can," laughed Anderson.

The four ideas for the downtown interchange project are not set in stone, and so far, no money has been allocated to do any of the work.