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Wrong-way detection installation to be moved up after deadly crash at Dale Mabry & I-275 Sunday

Detection projects to go in along I-275, I-4, I-75
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Posted at 5:49 AM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 07:38:26-05

TAMPA, Fla. -- A deadly wrong-way crash at Dale Mabry and I-275 over the weekend is now prompting the Florida Department of Transportation to take action to install new wrong-way detection technology at that interchange sooner than expected.

In a meeting with the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization on December 1, FDOT District Seven Secretary David Gywnn told transportation leaders that the department originally didn't plan to do this project right now, but in light of this recent crash, will find the money to install the wrong-way technology here starting this spring.

The crash happened early Sunday morning where a woman, 32, drove northbound up the southbound entrance ramp from Dale Mabry onto I-275. Her sedan crashed with a pickup truck and soon after, a guardrail.

"The young lady who entered the interstate crashed almost immediately upon getting to the mainline," Gwynn said.

She was killed in the crash, but investigators say the three people in the truck were not badly hurt. The crash tied up traffic on I-275 for hours.

FDOT says by moving up a wrong-way detection project here, and other locations like this, they may not necessarily prevent a crash. However, they will be able to detect a wrong-way driver as soon as possible.

"We're hoping that in the future, what we'll be able to do is to detect a person coming in the wrong way very early and then get message boards out and so forth to warn people, 'hey, there's a wrong-way driver, look out,'" Gwynn said.

FDOT is working toward a goal where all interchanges along the interstate will have wrong-way detection technology, Gwynn told transportation leaders.

The Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization also opted to move forward with a Transportation Improvement Plan amendment for 2021 that will eventually install new wrong-way driver technology at seven new locations along I-275, I-4 and I-75.

These include:

  • I-4 and Columbus Drive
  • I-4 and U.S. 41/50th Street
  • I-75 and Fowler Avenue
  • I-275 and Bird Street
  • I-275 and Busch Boulevard
  • I-275 and Scott Street
  • I-275 and Ashley Drive