Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

County grants final approval for New Tampa bridge project

TAMPA — After nearly two years of delays, a controversial New Tampa road project received the green light Thursday.

Meeting as the Environmental Protection Commission, Hillsborough County commissioners voted 5-1 to clear the final hurdle to construction of a bridge over Interstate 75 linking Commerce Park and New Tampa boulevards.

During comments before the vote, business owners and residents of the Cross Creek area expressed support.

"We need this alleviation of traffic," said Karen DeGiorgio, whose neighborhood stands to benefit from the alternate route to Bruce B. Downs Boulevard that the bridge would create.

The vote upholds a hearing officer's recommendation in November to dismiss resident Evelyn Romano's appeal. She had argued that the bridge and the additional traffic it would bring through her West Meadows neighborhood would create a nuisance and jeopardize safety.

"Disappointment doesn't quite cover what I feel at the moment," Romano said after the meeting.

With the county's approval, the city of Tampa can proceed with the roadway extension. The project will take roughly two years and is expected to cost about $16 million.

Commissioner Victor Crist, the lone dissenter, argued that environmental concerns Romano and others raised had not been considered. Local rules were being allowed to supersede state laws, he said. Other commissioners said existing rules didn't give them legal standing to delay the bridge.

"I think our hands are tied," Commissioner Ken Hagan said.

Attorneys for both the city and the EPC have argued Romano's challenge, initially filed in April 2009, was irrelevant to approving a wetlands permit and that she had no standing to oppose the project. Once the order is signed, Romano has 30 days to decide whether to take her case to the 2nd District Court of Appeal. She was contemplating her next move Thursday.

She criticized commissioners' decision to limit public comments during the hearing to general statements about support or opposition to the road extension.

Richard Tschantz, director of EPC's legal and administrative services division, had encouraged commissioners to limit comments. He said allowing speakers to explain their position could be seen as introducing new evidence, which was not acceptable at this point in the process.

Tschantz interrupted several speakers when he felt their comments had crossed that line.

Romano said that was unfair and provided proof that residents weren't being heard.

"We were not allowed the ability to present our evidence and our side of it," she said.

Tia Mitchell can be reached at tmitchell@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3405.

County grants final approval for New Tampa bridge project 01/27/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 27, 2011 11:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Arcade Fire open hearts, play with passion at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

    Blogs

    Gloves off, hearts open and disco balls glittering, Arcade Fire scaled the stage for the first time ever in Tampa, pouncing and flailing and performing with all the passion that’s made them one of the world’s most celebrated rock bands this century.

    Arcade Fire performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2017.
  2. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  4. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs this season while improving his defense and baserunning but wants to improve on his .236 batting average.
  5. Fennelly: Lightning's Manon Rheaume made history 25 years ago Saturday

    Lightning Strikes

    The name is part of Lightning history, hockey history, sports history.

    Lightning goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game 25 years ago today.