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Tampa To Ease Traffic In New Tampa Neighborhood

The city of Tampa is taking steps to build a bridge that will ease traffic along a major thoroughfare on the north end of town.

The New Tampa community may be getting a bridge along New Tampa Boulevard that will link Tampa Palms and West Meadows. The bridge would allow drivers to cross a section of wetlands. The two-lane boulevard is currently a dead-end road. And a number of residents want to keep it that way.

Some are concerned that opening the road will encourage speeding traffic, putting children at risk. Others are concerned that the project is a ploy to sneak a controversial east-west connector road.

Jean Dorzback, the city's transportation manager, says those assertions are based on incorrect information.

"The New Tampa Boulevard bridge project includes sidewalks and an eight-foot trail for pedestrians and bicyclists," says Dorzback. "The City of Tampa conducted a Traffic Safety Study recently, which included stakeholder meetings with West Meadows and Tampa Palms residents. As a part of the recommendations of this study, we will be initiating a design project for improvements to the entrance of Freedom High School, we have made recommendations to the School Board for alternative bus/parent pick up at the school to improve safety, and we will be looking at funding options to install a traffic signal at New Tampa Boulevard and Wood Sage Drive.

"The assertion [that the project is related to an east-west connector] is incorrect," continues Dorzback. "The bridge design project began in 2002 as a result of the development agreement for West Meadows. The East-West Road is a separate project and is no longer active due to funding constraints.''

Both projects are on the MPO Long Range Transportation Plan, which is the master roadway plan for Hillsborough County.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Sources: Jean Dorzback, City of Tampa

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