New Tampa motorists, your drives are about to get easier.
Construction on the New Tampa Boulevard extension and bridge project began on June 20.
Providing a bridge over Interstate 75, as well as a two-lane highway between Commerce Park Boulevard and the extension of New Tampa Boulevard, the $14 million investment project will provide safe crossing over I-75 for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.
"The New Tampa Boulevard Bridge has been an important link in the transportation network of New Tampa since the mid-'80s. With no east-west access points across I-75 between Bearss Avenue and State Road 56, Bruce B. Downs Boulevard has been the only roadway allowing the thousands of commuters and residents in the area to navigate to their destinations," says City of Tampa Transportation Manager Jean Dorzback.
At approximately 0.7 miles long, the extension will offer travelers an alternative route, spanning from the termination point of the existing western part of New Tampa Boulevard to the northern termination point of Commerce Park Boulevard. The project will also allow for improved response times for the police and fire departments serving the area; a five-foot sidewalk and an eight-foot trail are included in the project's budget, as well, giving pedestrians and bicyclists a chance to safely cross I-75.
"Now is the optimal time for this major transportation improvement: The permits and plans are ready, the city received bids lower than estimated and this project will generate a significant number of jobs for the next two years," says Dorzback. "Most importantly, the project is long overdue and will finally give the residents of the New Tampa area a much-needed alternative to Bruce B. Downs."
In conjunction with the project, a 4-lane divided roadway from New Tampa Community Park to Freedom High School will undergo construction, while signals will be added at the new driveway intersection and at Wood Sage Drive in West Meadows.
The project was designed by Kisinger Campo & Associates and contracted by Prince Contracting. Expected completion for the project is the summer of 2013.
Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Jean Dorzback, City of Tampa