Nightly lane closures, missed signs send drivers on detour across Howard Frankland Bridge

Drivers heading toward the I-275/SR 60 interchange have to pay close attention to the detour signs or they'll end up taking a long detour across the Howard Frankland Bridge.

To allow crews to work on the interstate widening project, nightly lane closures on State Road 60 and Interstate 275, going toward Tampa International Airport, have been put in place.

But if a driver misses the detour sign and doesn't get off at the right exit in Hillsborough County, they'll have to make a U-turn in Pinellas County to come back.

“We had a lot of signage out there, alongside the road,” said John McShaffrey, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation. “Despite all of that, people still missed it.”

The roadwork is part of the I-275 widening project that is projected to end by early 2021. However, most of the lane closures for this area of the interchange are expected to end by Oct. 5. McShaffrey said, even though the lane closures in this particular area are expected to be over by Oct. 5, they may modify the detours to prevent confusion.

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Nonetheless, drivers are urged to read the signage in order to avoid an even longer commute.

The $31-million project will include:

- An additional lane in both directions of I-275 between the exit ramps to SR 60 and the entrance ramps from SR 60;

- Another lane on the northbound I-275 exit ramp to SR 60;

- Removal of the merge from the eastbound SR 60 loop ramp onto northbound I-275 by adding a lane onto I-275;

- An additional lane and noise wall barrier on northbound I-275 between West Shore Boulevard and Lois Avenue;

- A wider ramp from SR 60 onto southbound I-275.