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Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014
Local News

Public hearings set on new Howard Frankland Bridge span


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Public hearings on a proposed replacement of the northbound Howard Frankland Bridge are slated for next week in St. Petersburg and Tampa.

The sessions are scheduled for Tuesday at the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, 3201 Scherer Drive, St. Petersburg, and Thursday at the Tampa Marriott Westshore, 1001 N. West Shore Blvd., Tampa.

On both nights, an open house begins at 5 p.m., with a formal presentations at 6 p.m.

Information from will be presented and public input will be accepted regarding the replacement, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.

Recent studies, documents and maps will be available for review, and FDOT representatives will be available prior to and following the formal portions.

The four-lane span of northbound Interstate 275 actually runs east from Pinellas County to Hillsborough County. The bridge over Old Tampa Bay, which opened to traffic in 1959, is nearing the end of its serviceable life, and FDOT has determined it would be more efficient to replace it than maintain it.

Planners are studying three types of structures with expected completion between 2020 and 2025 and the costs depending on what kind of transit corridors might be included.

The price to replace just four lanes of roadway will be about $367 million, FDOT said. That does not include relieving the traffic bottleneck at the Tampa International Airport/Memorial Highway interchange.

If the project adds two express lanes in each direction to accommodate bus rapid transit and cars paying tolls to avoid the free, congested lanes, the cost would increase by $339 million to $706 million.

And if the new bridge were built to accommodate a transit exclusive guideway — a corridor for either light rail or bus — the cost would increase by $989 million to $1.36 billion. That price would include additional work in both Hillsborough and Pinellas to accommodate an enhanced transit system and link with new transit terminals.

A separate Regional Transit Corridor Evaluation is under way to evaluate premium transit alternatives.

State and federal money would be used for the new span if the bridge is replaced with one the same as today’s, but if other features are incorporated, FDOT could ask local entities to come to the table, District 7 spokeswoman Kris Carson said over the summer.

For more information, go online to hfbs.fdotd7studies.com.

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