Highway construction project in Apollo Beach aimed to create calmer commute

As southern Hillsborough County expands, traffic congestion continues to be a problem for drivers caught in the daily back-ups. 

County officials are now breaking ground on a new project to connect three major routes, and eventually ease traffic on Big Bend Road: U.S. Highway 41, Interstate 75, and U.S. Highway 301. 

Right now, the quickest route connecting all three thoroughfares is Big Bend Rd., and most of the time it’s not that a quick trip. According to Hillsborough County Capital Programs Department, this southern corridor is the source of several complaints from Bay Area drivers. 

The Paseo Al Mar extension is one of their solutions, they say. The extension will be a brand-new overpass connecting Paseo Al Mar to Balm Road and creates a continuous eastbound-westbound route across U.S. 41, I-75, and U.S. 301. 

By creating an entirely new overpass, the county says detours will be limited, but construction could impact some traffic on I-75. 

"Bear with us. It will be a little bit of discomfort in the beginning while construction is ongoing," says Sandra Gonzalez with the Hillsborough County Capital Programs Department. "They will see heavy equipment, heavy machinery, but once the project is completed I'm confident that it will benefit the residents and access to those areas."

In all, the project is costing the county more than $26 million and is scheduled to be finished in late 2022.