Monday, April 23, 2018
News Roundup

Gear up for patience on I-275

When the state shuts one of the busiest exits off Interstate 275 in Tampa late Tuesday, drivers, businesses and neighborhoods expect to be in for months of pain.

Motorists use the Dale Mabry Highway exit off southbound I-275 to get to Raymond James Stadium, Hillsborough Community College, Tampa International Airport, shopping centers — and of course, home.

"For the next four months, it's going to be a madhouse," said Macfarlane Park Association and Neighborhood Watch president Guido Mansicalco. He said elderly members of his association in West Tampa plan to avoid the area all together.

Although the I-275 construction project has been going on for two years, the Florida Department of Transportation didn't finalize plans to close the southbound Exit 41A/B until May 16.

The agency first spoke with the project's contractor, the city, neighborhood groups and local businesses, said DOT spokesman John McShaffrey.

He said the alternative — which could have backed up traffic on I-275 — was to leave one exit ramp lane open and permit only northbound turns onto Dale Mabry for six to nine months.

"It's happening over the summer when traffic is a little bit lighter," he said. "School is not in session for the majority of that. The tourism season is much lighter during the summer."

The ramp is scheduled to close starting at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday and open again sometime in September. Southbound drivers who wish to exit will be directed to the Himes Avenue exit instead.

Unlike the Dale Mabry ramp, it's a left-hand exit — meaning that drivers will have to get over into the left lane.

Ron Rotella, executive director of the Westshore Alliance business district association, fears patrons of retailers like Home Depot and Walmart will be frustrated by the closure.

"We expressed our concern to them," Rotella said. "They pretty much told us that they didn't have any options."

The Tampa Sports Authority, which operates the Raymond James Stadium, has been in frequent contact with the DOT over the closure, said spokesman Bobby Silvest.

Given the short notice, the authority hasn't yet decided how best to notify people headed to the stadium.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have two preseason home games in August. Depending on how far the ramp construction goes into September, the Sept. 7 and 14 regular season games could be affected as well.

The University of South Florida Bulls also play home games at Raymond James.

Tampa International Airport will alert travelers by social media on Tuesday, said spokeswoman Emily Nipps.

The airport is not doing more to warn drivers, she said, because Dale Mabry does not directly lead to the airport.

Improvements to Himes Avenue will be completed before the detour goes into effect, McShaffrey said. Exiting traffic will be detoured off at Himes, then directed to take Cypress Street west to Dale Mabry.

The DOT will install additional traffic signals on Cypress Street and Himes to help manage the extra traffic, McShaffrey said.

The good news: When it's all done, the DOT will not need to close the Dale Mabry exit off I-275 in the other direction for similar construction, he said.

"Sometimes as we go through big projects like this, some closures are inevitable," McShaffrey said. "We're going to try to shorten the duration on this as much as possible. Hopefully it'll all go smoothly and after it's opened up, things will be a little better in that area."

Comments
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays win on Carlos Gomez’s walkoff home run

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays win on Carlos Gomez’s walkoff home run

Carlos Gomez, who had been struggling, delivers a two-run, walkoff home run as the Rays sweep the Twins for the first time at Tropicana Field. Rick Stroud discusses the moment and the celebration that followed Gomez's first career walkoff hit in toda...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
How Deon Cain went from lifelong quarterback to NFL-bound receiver

How Deon Cain went from lifelong quarterback to NFL-bound receiver

TAMPA — Ricky Sailor thought his colleague had lost his mind.Sailor's Unsigned Preps 7-on-7 team had one of the area's most promising young quarterbacks, Deon Cain. So why would one of his coaches, Carlos Blake, want to risk injury and burn bri...
Updated: 1 hour ago
It’s a boy! Kate Middleton gives birth to third royal baby

It’s a boy! Kate Middleton gives birth to third royal baby

LONDON — Kensington Palace says the Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to her third child, a boy weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces (3.8 kilograms).The palace says the child was born at 11:01 a.m. (1001 GMT), a few hours after Kate was admitted to London’...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Can New Tampa handle nearly 700 more homes? Not without major changes, council member says

Can New Tampa handle nearly 700 more homes? Not without major changes, council member says

TAMPA — New Tampa was built on sprawl. Big houses, often in gated communities with lots of green space, are the operating principle for developing the area Tampa annexed in pieces starting in the mid 1980s.But residents who love the good schools and ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Scattered showers, thunderstorms kick off muggy week across Tampa Bay

Scattered showers, thunderstorms kick off muggy week across Tampa Bay

A large, disturbed weather system could drop thunderstorms and scattered showers across Tampa Bay. This is the same system that has caused water spouts and tornadoes to touch down around the Fort Walton Beach area in the Florida panhandle.This storm...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Waffle House customer on why he rushed shooter: ‘He was going to have to work to kill me’

Waffle House customer on why he rushed shooter: ‘He was going to have to work to kill me’

Moments before the first shot, James Shaw Jr. was watching a Waffle House employee wash dishes, stacking them higher and higher. When the first shot was fired, Shaw thought the tower of plates had come crashing down, he would later recount at a news ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

The Daystarter: Scott touts term limits in D.C.; Hillsborough teachers get day in court; All Children’s Heart Institute had ‘challenges’; Lightning tickets on sale today

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• We’ll have highs today ranging from the lower 80s to upper 80s with scattered showers and thunderstorms likely throughout the day, according to the National Weather Service.• As you h...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Waffle House suspect still being sought; residents on alert

Waffle House suspect still being sought; residents on alert

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As an intensive manhunt continues for the suspect in a Waffle House restaurant shooting that killed four people, police are warning residents of a Nashville neighborhood to beware of the alleged killer. More than 80 Nashville polic...
Updated: 3 hours ago
PolitiFact Florida: Does Gov. Rick Scott want to privatize Social Security?

PolitiFact Florida: Does Gov. Rick Scott want to privatize Social Security?

The president of a PAC that works to protect Social Security says Florida Gov. Rick Scott doesn’t have the backs of senior citizens.Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, the president of the Social Security Works PAC (and a former member of the band Sha Na Na), blast...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Hooper: Leader’s vision may lead to new Woodson Museum spot

Hooper: Leader’s vision may lead to new Woodson Museum spot

Premier Eye Care CEO Lorna Taylor received the inaugural Winnie Foster Lifetime Achievement Award at a Carter G. Woodson Museum event Sunday in St. Petersburg.The award is as much about what she hopes to do as what she’s already done for the museum. ...
Published: 04/23/18