State announces $1.4-billion plan to fix Westshore traffic

The state Department of Transportation unveiled a plan to reroute traffic and reduce congestion through the Interstate 275 interchange in Tampa’s Westshore district, and it comes with a price tag of over $1-billion.

According to an FDOT press release, the plan is designed to ease traffic flow and improve safety around the I-275 and State Road 60 interchange, a common bottleneck for drivers heading between downtown Tampa and Pinellas County. 

The project will connect the Howard Frankland Bridge, the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Veterans Expressway, and Tampa International Airport with “additional general purpose and express lanes.”

Secondarily, the state said, the project will improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety in the growing Westshore business district by reconnecting local streets beneath I-275.

Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted before-and-after renderings Thursday while announcing that $1.4-billion was being earmarked for construction.

FDOT image showing the current configuration.

FDOT image showing the planned future configuration.

“As our population continues to increase, we remain committed to improving our transportation infrastructure through strategic innovation,” DeSantis said in the press release. “By significantly relieving traffic congestion, this reconstruction project will provide motorists a more effective way to travel through the region. Additionally, it will add capacity for future growth and improve connectivity for Tampa’s residents, businesses and visitors.”

Work is scheduled to begin as soon as 2023, which will allow engineers to coordinate with the separate but simultaneous reconstruction of the Howard Frankland Bridge, which will begin next year.