TAMPA, Fla. — The Florida Department of Transportation is presenting a plan to ease congestion on the Gandy Bridge and make a series of safety upgrades in the hopes of preventing deadly crashes and improving traffic flow.
Transportation leaders are studying the impact of potentially widening the bridge and surrounding roads.
The project starts in Pinellas County on 4th Street, goes across the Gandy Bridge, and ends in Hillsborough County on Westshore Boulevard.
Transportation leaders are looking at widening part of the existing westbound Gandy Bridge and re-purposing it for eastbound travel.
Then, a brand-new westbound Gandy Bridge would be constructed on the north side of the existing bridge.
Finally, there would be a multi-use trail linking Pinellas and Hillsborough counties and several safety improvements including new bike lanes and sidewalks.
Those are just a few of the key changes that would be a part of this three-segment project.
Transportation leaders say the bridge and surrounding roads are congested and that's likely a leading cause of crashes here.
Digging into the numbers, there were nearly 750 crashes from 2016 to 2020 here and nine people died. There were also seven pedestrian crashes and 10 involving a bicyclist.
Right now, transportation leaders are having a series of public meetings about this project. But, don't expect construction on a new Westbound Gandy Bridge anytime soon.
Engineers should start designing the Pinellas side of the project in 2025.