Driving around Amalie Arena is about to get a whole lot more difficult over the next few months.
Beginning Monday morning, the city of Tampa begins an infrastructure project that's estimated to take between 18 and 24 months to complete.
The first section of work is on Morgan Street, near the intersection of Channelside Drive. One lane of Morgan Street will be blocked off to traffic, but traffic will still be able to go in both directions. The work on Morgan Street will continue bit by bit until it fully re-opened in November.
The northern lane of Channelside Drive is scheduled to close in the fall of 2016 and will re-open in the summer of 2017.
By limiting the extent of the work, and by spreading out the work in parts, the city hopes to limit the impact it has for commuters and visitors to the area surrounding Amalie Arena.
The infrastructure upgrade around the arena includes new water, sewer, and storm-water pipes, as well as a new chiller piping system to support centralized cooling facility.
A website, DowntownTampaGrid.com, has been launched for the local community to stay connected with the ongoing construction.
The city promises the improvements will help create a functional street grid through southern downtown, linking downtown's Channel District with the Central Business District. The improved street grid includes wider sidewalks and enhanced lighting to become the foundation for the active streetscapes planned by the developer, Strategic Property Partners (SPP), which is the real statement development company owned by Vinik and his Cascade Investment LLC.
That website will be updated regularly, says a city spokesperson, and should be checked often by people who frequently visit the area.
According to the website, construction will begin at midnight on Monday morning.
Long-term, the construction project could massively improve the traffic flow in the area, which is right now a series of one-way streets that merge into two-way streets and back again. A city spokesperson also promises the project will bring 338 new on-street parking spaces, over 3,000 feet of bike lanes, and wider sidewalks to “enhance walkability” and improve the “pedestrian experience.”
Channelside Drive will eventually be turned into a fully two-way road, but it could take as much as 2 years to complete.
The endeavor has been described by SPP as a $35 million project.