St. Pete Express Lane: The State Legislature is moving full steam ahead with a regional express lane system in north St. Petersburg. A whopping $354 million has been set aside to expand Interstate 275, introducing two toll lanes in both directions between 4th Street North at the Howard Frankland Bridge and 38th Avenue North. If you’ve got summer 2025 plans, be prepared for construction to kick off!
West Central Florida
Interstate 275 (I-275) from 38th Avenue N to 4th Street N
This project will widen I-275 from 38th Avenue N to 4th Street N in Pinellas County to provide two tolled express lanes in each direction. A new multi-use trail will also be built along Ulmerton Road from I-275 to Feather Sound Drive. The roadway and trail improvements
will tie into the Gateway Expressway and Howard Frankland Bridge projects that are currently in construction.
For additional project details, please
visit https://www.fdottampabay.com/ project/920/449109-1-52-01.
But it’s not just about the roads. FDOT is going green with a new multiuse trail running along Ulmerton Road from I-275 to Feather Sound Drive.
Mayor Ken Welch couldn’t contain his enthusiasm, highlighting the long-standing collaboration with Forward Pinellas and FDOT. He stressed the city’s commitment to enhancing I-275 and the surrounding transport system. Mayor Welch is also eagerly looking forward to the extension to downtown St. Pete.
On the topic of extensions, while I-375 and 54th Avenue South are on the agenda, they’re still in the waiting room for funding.
David Gwynn of FDOT emphasized the project’s potential to reduce congestion in the backdrop of the area’s rapid growth. With integration between downtown Tampa, downtown St. Pete, Tampa International Airport, and major business districts, this overhaul aims to connect the dots, improving accessibility.
Did you hear about the $870 million Howard Frankland Bridge? Set to wrap up by end-2025, it promises four tolled express lanes. Plus, cyclists rejoice! A bike path will connect both bay sides, extending to 4th Street North.
The $595 million Gateway Expressway is nearing completion after some pandemic-related hiccups. It promises elevated toll lanes connecting I-275 to U.S. 19 and the Bayside Bridge.
In a twist, while Governor Ron DeSantis had an ambitious $7 billion proposal for 20 projects, the legislature green-lit only $4 billion. Thankfully, the I-275 expansion in St. Petersburg made the cut.
Evan Mory, the city’s transportation and parking director, is blown away by the scale of recent investment in local transit. Local Senator Nick DiCeglie pointed out the influx of residents into the state, emphasizing the importance of infrastructure upgrades.
State officials are all in with $1.59 billion from the Transportation Trust Fund to kick off the Moving Florida Forward initiative. Besides, two major projects with a combined budget of $244 million will begin in fall 2024.
Rep. Fiona McFarland summed it up well, highlighting the importance of these projects in addressing traffic woes and ensuring safety. It seems Florida is on track for a transportation revolution, ensuring it keeps pace with its growing needs.