TAMPA, Fla. — Many Tampa Bay area drivers know firsthand how exasperating and dangerous the Downtown Tampa interchange can be. Not only are cars struggling to merge into the single I-4 on-ramp lane, but it's also a hotspot for dangerous crashes.
Hillsborough County transportation leaders are meeting Wednesday to approve acquiring the "right of way" on parcels of land in Downtown Tampa to improve the I-4/I-275 interchange. FDOT is acquiring seven parcels with six residential relocations.
This project would ultimately widen and add lanes to the ramps on I-275 to and from I-4.
The project would start where Floribraska Avenue meets I-275 and stretch all the way through the I-4 interchange to where I-4 meets with 14th Street.
Hillsborough County and the Florida Department of Transportation are assuring families there will be zero impact on any homes or businesses.
There are also a few amenities transportation leaders are trying to work in, including a proposed bike track along 15th Street and a trail for walking and cycling adjacent to the interstate.
FDOT is pursuing construction funding that could be as early as 2022 for the Downtown Tampa interchange operational and safety improvements that have a current construction cost estimate of approximately $140 million.
According to FDOT, in 2012, there were more than 500 crashes in the I-275/I-4 interchange. In 2016, that number doubled to more than a thousand crashes.
However, drivers won't see changes right away. Construction won't start for several years, likely sometime between 2025 and 2030.