The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 7 will host a public information open house tonight to discuss their plan to expand Interstate-275 and the downtown interchange, which has met widespread community opposition in recent years.
The open house will be held tonight, Jan. 5, from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. at C. Blythe Andrews Jr. Public Library located at 2607 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. A virtual option is also available and requires pre-registration.
In a press release sent less than 24 hours before the meeting, FDOT said that public participation is encouraged as it discusses the projects.
The I-275 "Capacity Improvement Project" aims to add another lane to both sides of the interstate and runs along I-275 from Interstate-4 to north of Hillsborough Avenue. FDOT says all of these changes are planned to be completed within the existing right of way on the interstate.
The Downtown Tampa Interchange (I-275/I-4) Safety and Operational Improvement Project is anticipated to begin construction in 2023.
The project includes:
- Widening the southbound I-275 to eastbound I-4 flyover ramp to two lanes.
- Widening the westbound I-4 to northbound I-275 ramp from one to two lanes, and widening the westbound I-4 to southbound I-275 exit from two to three lanes.
- Providing trail connections to local networks and adjacent communities.
- Modifying the exit ramp to Ybor City/East Tampa from 21st/22nd Streets to 14th/15th Streets
During the event, display boards and exhibits will display the plans for the project and FDOT staff will be available to answer questions from the attendees.
A movement called #BlvdTampa has argued that turning the interstate into a boulevard would be more efficient than continuing to expand a dysfunctional interstate.
In a 2019 report by the Congress for the New Urbanism called “Freeways Without Futures”, I-275 was been named among 10 of America’s worst highways.