ST. PETERSBURG — After three years of construction on Gandy Boulevard, part of the road project meant to ease congestion west of Gandy Bridge has been opened to traffic.
Two of three eastbound lanes opened at the end of December and two of three westbound lanes opened Feb. 10 — both part of a new 1.23-mile elevated portion of the road west of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N.
Overall, the $83 million, 2.5-mile Florida Department of Transportation project is on schedule and will be completed by midsummer barring any setbacks due to weather, said Marty Sanchez, a senior project manager with the department.
A year ago, officials said the project was ahead of schedule and predicted a spring completion.
When it's finished, six elevated lanes — three in each direction — will run from Interstate 275 east to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street. The elevated road will then continue as four lanes — two in each direction — from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street to Fourth Street.
New overpasses will be located on 94th Avenue N, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street and at Roosevelt Boulevard and Fourth Street.
The project will also include a grass median, and pedestrian and cycling paths.
This stretch of Gandy Boulevard averages over 40,000 vehicles a day.
Whether the newly opened stretch has provided traffic relief yet was up for debate Wednesday among some of those who use it.
Milton Jones, 27, leasing manager for the Epic at Gateway Centre Apartments nearby, drives the new lanes to work from Tampa between 8 and 9 a.m. and says no.
But a customer at a WaWa convenience store in the area, 40-year-old Cameron Eustice of Land O'Lakes, said his drive to visit his mother nearby was "absolutely easier."
"She'll get her coffee sooner today," he said.
Staff writer Waveney Ann Moore contributed to this report. Contact Paul Guzzo at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3394. Follow @PGuzzoTimes.