Neighbors prepare for 'Malfunction Junction' construction to expand starting Monday

Expect some big changes starting Monday in the spot that's become known as "malfunction junction." Construction begins on a major project designed to ease congestion at the I-275/I-4 interchange in Tampa, but some neighbors in the area are raising concerns about the timing of it all.

The congestion on I-275 in Hillsborough County is nothing new. The bumper-to-bumper traffic is something people have come to expect so starting Monday FDOT will begin construction to fix the problem.

"It's going to make a big difference. Absolutely. You see a lot of congestion out there, there's a lot of crashes out there, unfortunately, that this is a safety project as well, and it's also an operational project," FDOT Tampa Spokesperson Kris Carson said.

The project will add an extra lane in each direction on the stretch of I-275 between I-4 and Hillsborough Avenue. Project photos show the extra lanes will be added in the middle using the existing right of way.

"Not only do we have the I-275 project, but right next to it on Hillsborough Avenue, they're building a new emergency room center so there's a lot of activity that's going to happen in a short time so it's going to be crazy," Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association Volunteer Mauricio Rosas said.

As Rosas explains the timing isn't great. Neighbors have been calling and emailing him concerned about the impact and feel they weren't given proper notice.

"Send out postcards and say 'Hey a project is going to start even though this project was maybe decided back in June most people forget what happened in June so send us some postcards and say 'hey this project is happening prepare for it," Rosas said.

To help with noise neighborhoods next to the interstate will get barrier walls. The $85 million dollar project will last 5 years with an expected completion date sometime in 2026.

Rosas is encouraging any neighbors with concerns to voice them at FDOT's upcoming open house.

The open house is scheduled for November 4th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will also be a second available time from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The open house will be at the Hillsborough County Schools Bus Transfer Ramp Parking Area located at 505 E. Osborne Avenue in Tampa.