TAMPA - The Veterans Expressway's new express toll lanes will open by the end of the year, according to a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Transportation.
Drivers have been waiting years for relief on the Veterans during rush hour. The current project began in 2013 and wraps up in 2018 at a cost of $380 million. It adds an extra general use toll lane north and southbound as well as an express toll lane north and southbound.
Kelda Senior who works on the project closely with FDOT says the express lanes will open for testing before the end of the year. At this time, the construction team is completing final items before the lanes will be ready for traffic. The paving and striping are done and the flexible highway delineators (or barriers) are in place as well.
FDOT did not give an exact date of when the express toll lanes will open but did say they will open in phases.
• Phase 1A – One new express lane northbound from Hillsborough Avenue to Gunn Highway and southbound from Gunn Highway to SR 60 will open. The initial toll rates will be consistent with the general toll lanes with no variable toll applied.
• Phase 1B – Variable toll rates will begin on Phase I of the express lanes northbound and southbound between Hillsborough Ave and Gunn Ave.
• Phase 2A– One new express lane in each direction from Gunn Highway to the Dale Mabry Spur. The initial toll rates will be consistent with the general toll lanes with no variable toll applied.
• Phase 2B– Variable toll rates will begin on the express lanes from Gunn Highway to the Dale Mabry Spur.
According to transportation engineers at the Florida Turnpike, this is the first time in the United States a toll road is getting a more expensive toll lane.