Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Good news for downtown Tampa's weary commuters: roads reopen Friday

TAMPA — Getting to work downtown should get easier today as workers start to haul away barricades and reopen scores of roads closed this week for the Republican National Convention.

The road-clearing effort was expected to start just after midnight, when the convention officially closed. Commuters could see roads starting to reopen this morning when they return to work.

If all goes according to plan, the local lanes on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway will reopen at 5 a.m. Friday.

Roads and sidewalks south of Jackson Street and elsewhere around downtown will reopen at various times throughout the day. In some cases, crews will push barricades to the side and haul them away later, in order to open the road, officials said. The full cleanup likely will stretch into Saturday.

Setting up all the barricades, signs, fences and tents took about 17 hours last week.

Overall, police and city officials said they were pleased with how commuters adjusted to the RNC traffic patterns. The Selmon's local lanes were closed at 50th Street and Willow Avenue, which pushed traffic onto Adamo Drive and Interstate 4.

Roads south of Jackson Street, including the Brorein and Platt street bridges, were shut down, forcing drivers to divert.

The closures caused slowdowns, notably at E Kennedy Boulevard and Ashley Drive, Tampa and Whiting streets, and on parts of Jackson Street.

"There were some traffic holdups here and there, but we're pleased the congestion was much lower than what we thought it would be," said Jean Duncan, the city's transportation director.

"We do think people flexing their work schedules was a big part of it. The a.m. (traffic peak) was earlier, and the p.m. was more spread out."

Stacie Lynn, a paralegal from Valrico, shifted her work hours to avoid the afternoon rush and a possible conflict with protesters. On Tuesday afternoon, demonstrators marching through downtown delayed afternoon rush-hour traffic for about 15 minutes on Jackson Street and Kennedy Boulevard. Lynn had left her job at 2 p.m., though, and avoided the traffic delay.

But the schedule change was tough on Lynn and her co-workers, who had to come in at 7 a.m.

"All of us are so tired," she said.

Many of the 50,000 delegates, journalists and other visitors will head to the airport today.

Tampa International Airport anticipates 25,400 departures, about 5,000 departures more than a usual travel day, airport spokeswoman Janet Zink said.

"It's going to be like a busy day during spring break. Spring break is our busiest time of the year," she said.

Another transportation problem — delegates' buses taking hours to return to hotels after Tuesday night's RNC session — was cleared up Wednesday night by RNC and city officials as well as the RNC's transportation management company.

"They corrected everything. My hat's off to them," said John Zajicek, a Republican donor from Freeport, Ill., who was delayed three hours before the changes went into place.

Good news for downtown Tampa's weary commuters: roads reopen Friday 08/30/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 30, 2012 10:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: The Underwoods bring the political terror in 'House of Cards' Season 5

    Blogs

    The ruthless Frank and Claire Underwood are back, continuing their own form of terror inside and outside of the White House.

    Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in House of Cards Season 5 on Netflix.
  2. Trump hails heroes at Arlington on Memorial Day

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — UPDATE, 12:28 P.M.: President Donald Trump is expressing his nation's "boundless and undying" gratitude to Americans who have fallen in battle and to the families they left behind.

    President Donald Trump participates in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 29, 2017 in Arlington, Virginia. [Photo by Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images]
  3. French president attacks Russian media outlets; Putin says Moscow didn't try to influence French election

    World

    VERSAILLES, France — UPDATE, 11:57 A.M.: French President Emmanuel Macron has made an extraordinary attack on two Russian media outlets, saying they acted as "propaganda" organs during France's election campaign.

    French President Emmanuel Macron, right, speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Galerie des Batailles (Gallery of Battles) at the Versailles Palace as they arrive for a joint press conference following their meeting in Versailles, near Paris, France, Monday. [Stephane de Sakutin/Pool Photo via AP]
  4. In this Dec. 4, 2016, file photo, Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the third hole during the final round at the Hero World Challenge golf tournament in Nassau, Bahamas. Woods has been arrested on a drunken driving charge in Palm Beach County , various media outlets are reporting. [AP photo]
  5. Tiger Woods arrested on DUI charge in Florida

    Public Safety

    Golfer Tiger Woods was arrested on a DUI charge Monday in Jupiter, according to the Palm Beach County sheriff's office.

    Tiger Woods has been arrested on a DUI charge in Florida.