NewsDriving Tampa Bay Forward


Widening project begins on Bruce B. Downs to alleviate congestion

Construction will last about a year
Posted at 5:30 PM, Jun 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-28 14:44:02-04

TAMPA, Fla. — The peak hours are the worst from the morning rush to the evening commute on the intersection and Bruce B. Downs and Fletcher. 

"Fletcher is what is insane," said Meghan Harris.

"There is no space on the roads," Ahmed Hamed echoed.  

Residents, many USF students like Meghan Harris and Ahmed Hamed, even adjust their schedules to avoid the roads.

They said there is so much traffic, congestion spills onto the side streets where they live. 42nd and 46th get jammed with cars as drivers try to avoid the Bruce B. Downs intersection.

Hamed uses his skateboard to get around. And all this traffic and lack of sidewalks makes him nervous.

"Absolutely! Because you never know if you are going to slip up and fall and then a car is going to be right behind you," said Hamed.

"It's a two-lane road and everyone uses it. That's the way to get to 275 so it takes forever," Harris said. 

The county flagged the area as a must fix because of safety risks. Improvements actually start from seven miles away to reduce congestion.


Last October, crews started widening nearly one and a half mile stretch of Bruce B Downs between Pebble Creek Boulevard and County Line Road. The plan is to transform it from a four-lane divided roadway to eight  lanes.

It's going to cost about $25 million. It mostly comes from taxpayer money combined with grants.

"I can't think of a better way than to use my taxpayer dollars. There needs to be improvements," said Harris.

But this project means the congestion will get worse before it's better.

There will be lane shutdowns, heavy equipment and of course lots of noise. 

That is horrible news for drivers like Jacquie Caetano who have no choice but to take the route.

"The traffic on Bruce B. Down is so intense. You have to do a big U-turn to get around. It's a lot of extra stress," said Caetano.

And those extra headaches will last about a year.  

But in the end, the area will have wider road, new sidewalks, better lighting, even some new landscaping to make that commute a little more pleasant.