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Construction ramps up on $865M Howard Frankland Bridge redesign

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Posted at 4:00 PM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 18:01:08-04

TAMPA, Fla. — It’s the most traveled bridge in Tampa Bay and it’s getting an $865 million dollar makeover. If you commute across the Howard Frankland Bridge, you may have noticed construction is now in full swing.

By 2025, there will be eight lanes along the new span of the Howard Frankland Bridge, including four general use and two express toll lanes in each direction. Plus, there will be a new 12-foot-wide pedestrian trail.

The existing Southbound lanes will be converted to Northbound providing four general use lanes for drivers headed from St. Pete into Tampa.

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The pandemic really helped to speed up the project. FDOT told ABC Action News with fewer cars on the road they were able to move up the construction timetable by several months.

Most of the heavy equipment is now in place including cranes and barges. 139 craft workers and 54 staff members are driving 3,000 steel and concrete pillars into the bay.

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There will be lane closures throughout the project and FDOT plans to update drivers on their website and social media about any impacts to traffic.

In the meantime, transportation leaders are urging everyone to use extra caution as crews ramp up work along the bridge.

“Please slow down on the Howard Frankland Bridge. We’ve had a lot of speeding recently and we have workers entering and exiting all the time and we need everyone to be safe,” explained FDOT spokesperson Kris Carson.

Construction will wrap up in 2025 and with an estimated 100,000 more people expected to move to Tampa Bay over the next 25 years, drivers tell ABC Action News it will be a much-needed improvement.

“I can’t wait to see it all come together. It’s going to be awesome because that bridge can get stopped up for hours and hours in the morning or night so that’s going to be really convenient for people,” driver Jocelyn Borreli added.