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Dr. Delay: Awkward lane shifts along Howard Frankland bridge a part of improvement plan

A reader wants to know the purpose of the lane shifts along northbound Interstate 275 by the airport and Kennedy/Westshore Boulevard exit
A reader asked the Doc what’s the purpose of the re-striping and lane shifts along the northbound direction of I-275 at the airport and Kennedy Blvd. exit. [BY MONIQUE WELCH  |  Tampa Bay Times]
A reader asked the Doc what’s the purpose of the re-striping and lane shifts along the northbound direction of I-275 at the airport and Kennedy Blvd. exit. [BY MONIQUE WELCH | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Sep. 9

TAMPA — If you frequently cross the Howard Frankland bridge to travel between Tampa and St. Petersburg, you may have noticed multiple lane markings in the last few months.

Some look faded and some appear new.

Driving along I-275 N you can clearly see the old lane markings and the new ones that were repainted just before exit 39, (the airport and Kennedy and Westshore Blvd. exit) at the end of the Howard Frankland bridge. This is a apart of the plan to widen the lanes to ease congestion. [MONIQUE WELCH | Tampa Bay Times]

Reader Paolo Sanchez noticed the weird lane shifts a couple of times now and asked about their purpose.

Well, the Doc is here to tell you that it’s for the best.

As the Doc’s colleague Caitlin Johnston previously reported, it’s all part of a two-year Interstate 275 construction plan to improve the Westshore area (northbound exit 39), which is known to have bumper-to-bumper traffic throughout the day at times.

“The main purpose of this project is to add a lane in each direction of I-275 to eliminate the current (congestion) that exists where traffic in the through-lanes has to merge from three to two lanes,” said John McShaffrey, the community outreach manager with the Florida Department of Transportation.

“A few other areas of I-275 and the ramps will also be widened to help improve traffic flow.”

The current lane shifts are part of the Department of Transportation's I-275 operational improvements project at the Westshore area to widen the road and add a through lane to eliminate the merge point where the congestion builds up. The diagram shows the places where the widening will take place. Courtesy of the Department of Transportation [Department of Transportation]

The Department of Transportation had a contractor place the shifts on northbound and southbound I-275, and on the northbound exit ramp to State Road 60 to allow room for upcoming construction activities. They are also currently installing temporary barrier walls during nighttime operations to separate the work zones from the active travel lanes.

The construction zone spans 2.4 miles on I-275 from east of the Howard Frankland Bridge to east of Lois Avenue and you can expect lane closures from west of SR 60 (Exit 39) to Lois Avenue (Exit 40B) from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Friday through Saturday

The agency estimates the project will be completed by early 2021.

Lane closures and traffic updates:

HERNANDO:

  • Day and night lane closures began Sunday from south of U.S. 98/State Road 50 (Exit 301) to Sumter County for Interstate 75 widening and continue through Friday night from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Lane closures for a half-mile on each side of Suncoast Parkway (SR 589) for U.S. 98 bridge construction of Suncoast Parkway 2 continue all day every day through Saturday
  • Day and night lane closures began Sunday at a half-mile each side of I-75 for U.S. 98/SR 50 (Cortez Boulevard) widening and continue through Friday night from 6:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. and through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

HILLSBOROUGH:

  • Lane closures from Branch Forbes Road (Exit 17) to west of McIntosh Road (Exit 14) westbound for Interstate 4 resurfacing beginning 8:30 p.m. Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday
  • Lane closures along U.S. Business 41 (Highland Avenue and W Violet Street) from Florida Avenue to Ida Street began Monday and continue through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for roadway/pedestrian improvements
  • Lane closures from Madison Avenue/Pendola Point Road to Port Sutton Road began all day Sunday and continue all day through Saturday for U.S. 41 intersection reconstruction
  • Intermittent lane closures from Bullfrog Creek to Denver Street began Monday and continue through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for U.S. 41 drainage and sidewalk installation
  • Nightly lane closures at State Road 589 (Veteran’s Expressway) began Sunday and continue through Saturday from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. for SR 60 operational improvements
  • Lane closures with flagging operations from Paul Buchman Highway (SR 39A) to Park Road began Monday and continue through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for CR 580 (Sam Allen Road) widening

PASCO:

  • Lane closures/traffic shifts on Interstate 75 ramps at SR 56 (exit 276) for the Diverging Diamond Interchange project through Friday from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Day and nightly lane closures began Monday from Pond Avenue to Long Avenue/Pioneer Museum Road and continue through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for U.S. 301/U.S. 98 repaving

PINELLAS:

  • Lane closures continue at 22nd Avenue S (southbound only) through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Interstate 275 improvements
  • Lane closures continue on I-275 southbound from Fourth Street N. (Exit 32) to south of Gandy Boulevard (Exit 28) from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Lane closures continue on I-275 northbound Exit 30 ramp to westbound State Road 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) and westbound 118th Avenue (County Road 296) through Saturday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Lane closures began Sunday along the U.S. 19 Frontage Roads from 110th Avenue N to 126th Avenue N Gateway Expressway (new tolled roadway system) and continue through Saturday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Nightly lane closures continue from U.S. 19 to 41st Street S for SR 682 (54th Avenue S) repaving through Friday from 7:30 p.m. to 8 a.m.
  • Lane closures began Sunday and continue through Saturday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. at SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) entrance ramp to the Bayside Bridge: Gateway Expressway (new tolled roadway system), at SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) from SR 688 (Ulmerton Road) to 49th Street, Gateway Expressway (new tolled roadway system), and at SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) from 28th Street to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street, Gateway Expressway (new tolled roadway system)

Email Dr. Delay at docdelay@gmail.com to share your traffic concerns, questions, and pictures of roadway troubles you see across the Tampa Bay area. Follow @AskDrDelay.

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