What does this mean for you? For those headed to St. Petersburg from the airport, that will mean no more having to make those quick weave movements to get where you want to go. I know, the new ramps will be a little confusing at first but we'll get used to it, so here it goes as to how you will exit Tampa International Airport:
If you are headed to Interstate 275:
You will follow a new flyover bridge which will soar about 70 feet high at its peak, offering a great view of Tampa Bay and the Howard Frankland Bridge as you head south. After the flyover there will be a temporary ramp which will put you in position for Interstate 275.
If you are headed to the Veterans Expressway or Clearwater via FL 60:
From what I understand there will be two new ramps, one a permanent and one a temporary ramp. Traffic headed towards the Veterans Expressway will use the new permanent ramp while traffic headed to Clearwater will use the temporary ramp. I believe this arrangement will help prevent these somehow dangerous weaving manuevers on FL 60 westbound just after you leave the airport.
Again I know it will be confusing at first but these changes are needed as work progresses on the Tampa Airport interchanges project which I believe will wrap up around 2010 according to the Florida DOT. It is very crucial when traffic is shifted to a new pattern so that the contractor can proceed on the next phase of the project; after all, when the improvements were planned many years ago it has to be done in a sequence that will minimize any disruption to traffic coming into and out of the airport. You got people headed to the airport trying to make their flight and you can't have any delays for motorists accessing the airport.
So, the best advice is when the new flyover ramps open watch the signs carefully when you exit Tampa International Airport, especially if you are a visitor to the Tampa Bay area and drive a rental car. I think the new ramps will be the best improvement ever made since the Tampa International Airport as we know today opened in 1971.
And by the way, while we are on the subject of Interstate 275:
If you have driven on Interstate 275 lately between Exit 26 (54 Av N) and Exit 28 (Gandy Blvd./FL 694) you will by now have noticed the newly grinded concrete pavement as a part of the concrete rehabilitation project taking place. I got to agree, the newly grinded concrete pavement is much better and it improves the ride every time you drive Interstate 275 in this area. Moreover, a new mast arm traffic signal is in operation at Gandy Blvd. from the northbound Interstate 275 exit ramp which is a much better improvement than the old traffic signals on the span wire and Gandy Blvd. got an asphalt pavement makeover as well.
Let's head south to Interstate 175, one of the feeders serving downtown St. Petersburg. If you have driven Interstate 175 lately you will have noticed the newly grinded concrete pavement just like the concrete pavement on Interstate 275 mentioned earlier. In addition to the concrete pavement rehabilitation, signage is being replaced on Interstate 175 which means new signs! The original signage was in need of replacement as the original signage was installed when Interstate 175 opened back in 1979.
If you haven't been by Interstate 275 in St. Petersburg lately, you're in for a treat! You are probably asking yourself when I will get pictures of the newly installed signage on Interstate 175 to feature on the Interstate 175 page here at Interstate275Florida.com; that will probably be soon.