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Proposed toll lanes on I-275 in St. Pete get public hearing

The Florida Department of Transportation is looking for input Tuesday at First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg.
Contractors with Archer Wester-de Moya continue work on piers for the $580-million Gateway Expressway project in February at a flyover bridge designed to connect the expressway to US 19 in Pinellas Park. The project, which officially began in August, 2017, includes building a pair of 4-lane elevated tolled roadways, SR-686A and SR-690.  The Florida Department of Transportation is proposing adding two toll lanes on Interstate 275 south of Gandy Boulevard to Interstate 375. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times
Contractors with Archer Wester-de Moya continue work on piers for the $580-million Gateway Expressway project in February at a flyover bridge designed to connect the expressway to US 19 in Pinellas Park. The project, which officially began in August, 2017, includes building a pair of 4-lane elevated tolled roadways, SR-686A and SR-690. The Florida Department of Transportation is proposing adding two toll lanes on Interstate 275 south of Gandy Boulevard to Interstate 375. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Sep. 23, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The Florida Department of Transportation is looking for input on its plans to add toll lanes to Interstate 275 from the Howard Frankland Bridge to downtown St. Petersburg.

The department is hosting a public hearing on proposed changes to the interstate at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg on Gandy Boulevard N.

The open-house style meeting will include a formal presentation at 6:30 p.m. followed by time for public comment.

Related story: Hillsborough hates tollways. Pinellas can’t wait to drive on them.

Toll lanes are already under construction in the Gateway area and are expected to open in late 2022. The plan for the new Howard Frankland Bridge, which is set to open in 2024, also includes toll lanes. The cost to use those lanes will change based on how heavy traffic is at the time.

The state’s newest proposal would add an additional toll lane to I-275 in the Gateway area (with two running in each direction) and extend those lanes past Gandy Boulevard to Interstate 375, right into the heart of St. Petersburg.

Related story: Ahead for Pinellas: Two elevated toll roads in the Gateway area by 2022

The project also includes plans to straighten the interstate lanes and reduce merging from Gandy Bouelvard to south of 54th Avenue S.

The project is expected to cost $390 million but is not yet funded in the state’s five-year work plan. Construction would start in 2024.