BRANDON TO DOWNTOWN TAMPA: Back roads versus the Selmon Expressway
When heading from South County or Brandon into Downtown Tampa, is it faster to take the back roads or to take the Selmon Expressway and pay the toll?
ABC Action News put that question to the test, driving from the Brandon Towncenter Mall to The Straz Center in Downtown Tampa.
Photojournalist Lindsay Manning and Reporter Lauren Rozyla were in one vehicle, taking SR-60. Photojournalist Keith Campbell was in another, testing the Selmon Expressway.
Both routes had moderate to heavy traffic and the Selmon Expressway had just cleared up a crash, where traffic was still backed up. Taking SR-60 had a GPS time of 29 minutes using Google Maps. Taking the Selmon Expressway would take 25 minutes, according to Google Maps.
While Keith was in stop-and-go traffic on the Selmon Expressway, he did get to the Straz Center first, beating Lauren and Lindsay by 10 minutes.
It costs $1.74 to take the Selmon Expressway one way with a Sun Pass. So if time is more important than keeping your budget down, it could be worth it to pay. But we found that you could also save that amount by potentially leaving 10 minutes earlier.
When heading from Lutz or Pasco County into the Westshore area, is it really faster to take the new Veterans Express Lane or stick with the regular Veterans lanes?
ABC Action News put that question to the test, driving from Lutz to the Westshore Mall.
Photojournalist Lindsay Manning and Reporter Lauren Rozyla were in one vehicle, staying in the regular lanes. Photojournalist Keith Campbell was in another, testing the new Veterans Express Lanes, that starts at Gunn Highway.
When both crews got stuck in heavy traffic due to a crash, neither lane was moving very fast.
Eventually, the new express lanes will have what is called "dynamic pricing" which means that you could pay more to use the lane, depending on traffic. It is supposed to save you time for a fee.
However, Keith ended up beating Lauren and Lindsay, but only by about four minutes.
HOWARD FRANKLAND BRIDGE
When taking on the Howard Frankland Bridge, is it better to stay in one lane or is it faster to bob and weave around those slower cars?
ABC Action News put that question to the test, driving from St. Petersburg to Downtown Tampa, along the Howard Frankland Bridge.
Photojournalist Lindsay Manning and Reporter Lauren Rozyla were in one vehicle, staying in one lane. Photojournalist Keith Campbell and Anchor Jasmine Styles were in another vehicle, bobbing and weaving.
When both crews hit stop and go traffic, Keith and Jasmine immediately got pretty far ahead. They ended up getting to Downtown Tampa first, after about a 20 minute total trip, beating Lindsay and Lauren by four minutes.
So while four minutes may not be much, it could be the difference between being on-time for work or school, or late.
While these traffic tests were done on just one day, traffic can be affected by a variety of factors, including crashes, breakdowns and more. Make sure to follow @TampaBayTraffic and Traffic Anchor Lindsay Logue for all road closures and updates before you head out the door.