TAMPA — Motorists tired of looking for alternate routes through South Tampa are getting a very early Christmas gift from construction crews: S West Shore Boulevard is set to reopen Friday.
West Shore has been blocked from W Bay Way Drive to Beachway Drive since May 11 for construction work. But the city now says the road is scheduled to reopen to traffic at 6 a.m. Friday — three weeks ahead of schedule.
The crews of Pac Comm Inc., which contracted with the city for the $3.2 million Watrous Canal rehabilitation project, worked from sunup to sundown six days a week to finish early, said city spokeswoman Ashley Bauman. The crews repaired the eroded banks of the Watrous Canal and placed a culvert near W Bay Way Drive to improve the flow of stormwater.
Bauman said the city made it a priority to get traffic moving as soon as possible along the busy west-side thoroughfare, a straight shot from Gandy Boulevard to Kennedy Boulevard. Officials originally thought the road would be closed until July.
"It's fantastic to have West Shore open again,'' said Emmy Purcell Reynolds, who has lived in Beach Park for 18 years and regularly uses West Shore Boulevard, especially to go visit her daughter, mother and sister, who live south of her.
She said she was fortunate to know the back roads and couldn't imagine someone unfamiliar with the neighborhood trying to navigate around the blocked-off section of West Shore.
"I'm delighted that they finished early.''