NewsDriving Tampa Bay Forward


SR 56 is now open at I-75

All traffic was diverted until late Sunday afternoon
SR-56 Diamond Opening 1.JPG
Posted at 10:56 PM, Apr 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 09:31:43-04

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla — The Tampa Bay area continues to boom and with more business, comes more traffic.

“The roads have been unable to accommodate the amount of traffic," Joe Vergona, managing partner at Bubba's 33, said.

In Wesley Chapel residents told ABC Action News that the I-75 and SR 56 interchange is a headache.

“The congestion right now, it's really difficult for people to get over the bridge, so they kind of avoid this area," Hong Trinh, owner of Sweet Tea Cafe, said.

Efforts to create a diverging diamond interchange began in 2019.

“A lot of our customers say that, you know, they tend to avoid this area because of the congestion. It takes like about 20 to 30 minutes just to get to over the bridge. So hopefully, when they open up, it's going to be quicker for them to get here and more accessible to our customers," Trinh explained.

“Over the last three years that I've been working out in this area now just so many businesses have been popping up very frequently and very rapidly," Vergona added.

Vergona said over the last few years his commute time has doubled.

“There’s usually always congestion right before the end of the day going either way on this road. The lanes are extremely narrow, so it definitely kind of bottlenecks the cars," Vergona explained.

Relief is in sight as the diverging diamond interchange project is nearing completion.

“What that means is that instead of traffic going across the interstate, in the normal fashion, in this case, the traffic going westbound is on the north side. East bound bounds on the south. We're going to reverse that. We're going to cross over the traffic on each side of the of I 75. And that will allow it to function better because we get rid of some hard left turns at the traffic signals tender the ramps, and everything just flows better in this type of pattern," John McShaffrey, Florida Department of Transportation, District Seven, said.

“Hopefully it’ll draw more traffic and bring more business to the area," Trinh added.

“I think once people get into the flow of it, it's going to really help with not keeping that area so congested," Vergona said.

SR 56 at I-75 was closed Saturday night until late Sunday afternoon but has since opened.

Traffic in the area won’t be at full capacity until the project is complete sometime in the summer.