Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Expect delays and detours as Veterans Expressway construction gets under way

Signs indicate closure of the northbound Anderson Road exit on the Veterans Expressway on Tuesday as construction begins.


Signs indicate closure of the northbound Anderson Road exit on the Veterans Expressway on Tuesday as construction begins.

TAMPA — The addition of new lanes and electronic tolling are expected to ease congestion along the Veterans Expressway. But, with construction under way, traffic may get a little worse before it gets better.

Work began recently on a $386 million project to expand the Veterans Expressway from four lanes to eight between Memorial Highway and Van Dyke Road. Slated to take three years, the project also includes the elimination of cash tolls and the introduction of an express lane.

The goal of the project is to ease traffic for the 150,000 vehicles that currently travel the expressway each day, said Christa Deason, a Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

"It's at capacity now; we need to add some new lanes so we can fit more traffic on there," Deason said.

Those improvements come at a price, though.

"The majority of lane closures will be overnight," Deason said. "But when we start setting bridge beams — 22 bridges have to be widened and three have to be reconstructed in the first phase — there will be some detours, lane closures on the expressway and possibly on connector roads."

The first phase of the project focuses on the 7-mile stretch between Memorial and Gunn highways, widening the roadway two lanes in each direction.

That includes the closure of the Anderson Road northbound off-ramp and southbound on-ramp for the next six to nine months, Deason said. The bridges that connect Anderson road to the expressway will be reconstructed during that time.

Motorists can use the Waters Avenue on-ramp and the Waters or Linebaugh avenue off-ramps during that time, though that probably will add a few more minutes to the commute.

"This is going to put about 3,000 more cars a day on Anderson Road and additional traffic at the Waters and Linebaugh ramps," Deason said.

Besides adding lanes, eliminating cash tolls and creating an express lane should speed up commuter time when construction is done.

Electronic tolling is expected to replace cash tolls by mid 2014. Motorists will be able to pay either through a SunPass account or they can be mailed a bill for an extra fee. About 75 percent of those using the Veterans Expressway already use SunPass, Deason said.

Commuters will also have the choice of a new express lane, which will be similar to the one on Interstate 95 in South Florida, Deason said. The lane, which will be a higher toll than the regular roadway, will run between Hutchison Road and Hillsborough Avenue with limited exits and entrances to reduce travel time.

"The express lane is a way to manage congestion and provide travelers with more predictable travel time," Deason said.

As construction continues, the Department of Transportation will provide as much notice as possible regarding upcoming detours and closures, Deason said.

The good news? Changes shouldn't affect traffic for long.

"This is a commuter road used primarily by commuters," Deason said. "So it only takes them a couple of days to adjust to anything new and then they'll get right into the flow of it."

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at or (813) 226-3401.

>>On the web

Get updates

For closure updates, go online to

Expect delays and detours as Veterans Expressway construction gets under way 05/23/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 2:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas licensing board executive director settled hundreds of cases without getting his board's approval

    Local Government

    By Mark Puente

    Times Staff Writer

    Eleanor Morrison complained to the Pinellas licensing board in 2015 that her contractor installed crooked walls and windows and poured too much concrete for her carport.

    Eleanor Morrison poses at her home in Treasure Island, 5/26/17. Morrison filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board and later learned that its former Executive Director, Rodney Fischer, dismissed the case in a private meeting with the contractor.
  2. Rays pitchers rave about Twins pitching coach, ex-mentor Neil Allen

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — There have been a lot of coaches who have had a hand in helping Chris Archer get to the big leagues and to the front of the Rays rotation, and as he took the mound Friday night at Target Field, he had reason to nod appreciatively toward the home dugout.

    Minnesota Twins pitching coach Neil Allen jogs back to the dugout after paying starting pitcher Tyler Duffey a visit on the mound in the first inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
  3. Swan sculpture deputies say was stolen by naked man found near Lakeland pond


    A $25,000 swan sculpture that Polk County sheriff's deputies say was stolen by a naked man last weekend was found near a pond in Lakeland on Thursday.

    A swan sculpture that was stolen in Lakeland on May 19 was recovered by the Polk Sheriff’s Office on Friday.
  4. Mayor Rick Kriseman says election is about moving forward


    Mayor Rick Kriseman christened his campaign office  Friday evening by telling his supporters that the mayoral election was about moving forward, not backward..

    Mayor Rick Kriseman says mayoral election is about inclusiveness Friday at campaign office rally
  5. Mulberry teens, 15 and 18, killed when cars collide at Plant City intersection


    MULBERRY — The local high school has an enrollment of 1,000 but to some it feels like a tight-knit family. Many of Mulberry High School's students have spent all of their school days within the city limits, said principal Michael Young.

    Pepe Salgado, 18, Frinzi’s brother, died at the hospital.