FDOT recently announced that it is no longer considering adding express lanes to I-275 north of the downtown (I-4) interchange. Instead, FDOT will focus on near-term improvements within the existing Right of Way that improve safety and traffic operations, add general use capacity, provide sound barriers, and integrate opportunities for transit.
Last year, the Florida Department of Transportation began screening several concepts for this corridor, including the boulevard concept (with transit in the median and/or on the side). The Department met with the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the City of Tampa, and Joshua Frank (the USF graduate who originally developed and proposed the boulevard concept) to discuss FDOT’s approach to evaluating the concept in this corridor. After the initial screening, FDOT and the Hillsborough MPO determined that there are local decisions and investments that would be required for the boulevard to move forward (land use policy decisions, local transit investments, etc.). Those decisions and investments are best addressed at the local level by the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization, which is starting an update to its Long Range Transportation Plan this year. The Hillsborough MPO is including the boulevard concept in one of the three scenarios for future growth, and the community will be able to provide feedback on each of the scenarios later this year.
While the Hillsborough MPO works with the community to determine a long-term vision for this corridor in the Long Range Transportation Plan, FDOT is focusing on addressing the existing problems of safety, traffic operations, and congestion through near-term improvements that will not preclude potential long-term projects.
Additionally, FDOT is working on options for improving the Downtown Interchange, which is part of the Tampa Interstate Study Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) – I-275 from Howard Frankland Bridge to North of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and I-4 from I-275 to East of 50th Street, Work Program Number: 258337-2.