TAMPA, Fla. - Backups on Interstate 275 through Tampa may not ever go away, but the Florida Department of Transportation expects the congestion to ease up with the help of a construction project on I-275 just north of Interstate 4.
The $85.3 million project adds one lane in each direction, and construction starts on Monday, October 25.
"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," said Kris Carson, a spokesperson with FDOT Tampa.
Carson said the extra lanes will be built outside of the existing right of way.
"Work will take place during the day and the night. Any major lane closures or detours will be in the evening hours. We don't want to disrupt traffic during the day, but you will start to see workers out there," said Carson.
The neighborhoods next to the interstate will get noise barrier walls, and pedestrians will see some changes too.
"The underpass at Floribraska, Lake, MLK, Chelsea Street and Osborne and Hillsborough Avenue; those particular underpasses, we're going to go in to provide wider sidewalks," said Carson. FDOT will also add brighter lighting on those underpasses.
The project is expected to last five years, and it’s a first step toward a larger project dealing with the I-275 and I-4 interchange or, as some call it, Malfunction Junction.
"The I-275, I-4 safety improvements that will start in 2023. So all of these two projects together will really make that area flow a lot better," said Carson.
FDOT said drivers will also see some ramp closures overnight from time to time.
There will be a construction open house on November 4 where residents can ask questions and get more details about the work from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Hillsborough County Schools Bus Transfer Ramp Parking Area at 505 E. Osborne Avenue.
There is also a virtual option at https://www.fdottampabay.com/project/706/431821-2-52-01.