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5 big transportation projects to watch for in 2020

County Line Road road construction
Posted at 1:30 AM, Jan 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-30 08:44:53-05

TAMPA, Fla. — There are lots of transportation projects happening across the Tampa Bay area in 2020. We are listing some of the biggest ones:

  • Making U.S. 19 "death valley" safer to drivers and pedestrians

FDOT is getting ready to make a big announcement in Pinellas County. People in the area are pushing for some sort of change on the busy, dangerous highway that has been called "death valley." On February 12, transportation officials will give a presentation on their proposals.

ABC Action News was able to get a look at what's happening, you can read that here.

  • FDOT improvements to 275 northbound and southbound in the West Shore area

The Florida Department of Transportation says operational improvements to 275 northbound and southbound in the West Shore area could possibly wrap up ahead of schedule. The “punch-through” project will add a lane to both directions of 275 between the exit ramps to SR 60 and entrance ramps from SR 60. FDOT is also adding a lane to the 275 northbound exit ramp to SR 60. Plus, the current merge lane from SR 60 eastbound to 275 NB will continue to Lois Avenue.

“It’s important because, for the Howard Frankland Bridge project, we have additional capacity coming through and it’s also a safety condition that we wanted to improve,” said Marshall Hampton, FDOT District 7 Special Projects Administrator. “This is a longtime issue that needed to be resolved.”

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Hampton says crews are making good progress and are looking to complete the work before the 2021 Super Bowl in Tampa, but could possibly wrap up in the fall or winter. He’s asking drivers to pay attention in the work zone as construction ramps up.

“Stay focused,” said Hampton. “There are people’s loved ones out there so try to stay off your phones and focus on what you’re doing.”The project costs 31 million dollars.

New bill would increase penalties for drivers who pass stopped school buses

A bill is making its way through the Florida Legislature to try and stop drivers from passing stopped school buses.

Lawmakers will hear Senate Bill 290 on Thursday in a house committee in Tallahassee.

It increases the fine from $100 to $200 for not stopping for a school bus. The bill also raises the fine from $200 to $400 for passing a school bus on the side that kids are entering and exiting the bus when the driver puts out the bus stop sign.

If it makes its way to the governor's desk and is signed, it will take effect in July 2020.