Make us your home page
Instagram

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.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times

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 srossetter@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3401.

>>On the web

Get updates

For closure updates, go online to floridasturnpike.com/construction_update.cfm.

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

Loading...
  1. A trip down memory lane of Bucs' preseason expectations

    Bucs

    With HBO's Hard Knocks in town and the Bucs opening training camp Friday with their highest expectations in a decade, here's a look back at Tampa Bay's preseason expectations since their last playoff appearance in 2007 — and the results.

    2008

    Jameis Winston and running back Peyton Barber celebrate a touchdown last season against the 49ers. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Boy Scouts apologize over Trump's remarks at jamboree

    National

    Facing an angry backlash from parents and former members, the chief executive of the Boy Scouts of America apologized on Thursday for political remarks made by President Donald Trump at the organization's national jamboree this week, during which the commander-in-chief crowed over his election victory, attacked the news …

    President DonaldTrump, front left, gestures as former boys scouts, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, left, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, watch at the 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit in Glen Jean, W.Va. Boy Scouts president Randall Stephenson told the Associated Press on Wednesday, July 26, in his first public comments on the furor over President Donald Trump's speech on Monday that he'd be "disingenuous" if he suggested he was surprised by the Republican president's comments. [Associated Press]
  3. Drones restrictions coming at Tampa Bay area airports

    Airlines

    Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, according to a press release.

    In this February 2017 file photo, a drone flies in Hanworth Park in west London. Starting Sept. 1, Tampa International Airport officials will be enforcing new height restrictions for drones and other unmanned aircraft systems,
[John Stillwell/PA via AP, File]
  4. Hit-run driver who refused to leave van threatened to shoot, Hillsborough deputies say

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Eddie Carly Colon Soto peeked his head out the broken side window of his van as a SWAT team closed in.

    The driver of this van tried to flee the scene of a crash in north Tampa Thursday morning until he could travel no farther, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said. Then he refused to leave the van and threatened sheriff's deputies, they said. [TONY MARRERO   |   Times]
  5. Get the latest Tampa Bay Buccaneers news delivered daily to your email inbox

    Bucs

    They narrowly missed the playoffs by thismuch.

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) after they connected for a touchdown during a win over the Seattle Seahawks in November in Tampa. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]