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Bethany Tyne / WUSF Public Media

The Florida Department of Transportation held an industry forum Monday morning to discuss the new bridge that will replace the Howard Frankland.

They invited designers and contractors to learn about construction plans and opportunities, as well as community and environmental impacts.

Wikimedia Commons

The Tampa Bay region consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous places in the nation for pedestrians and cyclists.

This week on Florida Matters, we're talking about how to improve safety on the roads while balancing that with the needs of drivers eager to get where they need to go as fast as possible.

Wikimedia Commons

Residents in Florida's biggest cities may be reluctant to recommend their hometown to people looking to move.

The USF-Nielsen Sunshine State Survey asked about deterrents to moving to a community, and 72 percent of people listed traffic congestion as "a problem" or "a big problem."

If you’ll be hitting the road this Thanksgiving you’ll have plenty of company, with an estimated 2.6 million Floridians expected to travel 50 miles or more.


State Officials Defend Massive Evacuation Traffic Plans

Oct 27, 2017

Despite widespread traffic jams that choked Florida's highways, state officials are defending the approach used during Hurricane Irma.

from Wikimedia Commons

Rush hour is legendary among Tampa Bay residents for bumper-to-bumper congestion and long commutes.

The area has suffered from traffic woes for years. The Hillsborough County Commission recently approved an $812 million transportation plan, which focuses almost exclusively on road improvements.

Rick Homans is CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership, an organization that works to solve economic problems in the area.

Associated Press

Buses, streetcars and private vehicles in Tampa will soon be able to talk to each other.

St. Petersburg Fire Rescue

One person has died after a car crashed off a fishing pier near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on Wednesday afternoon, according to Florida Highway Patrol.

Authorities have identified the driver, who was killed, as 52-year-old Richard K. McCrocklin, of Eustis.

Associated Press

If you're going to be hitting the road for the holidays this year, make sure to pack some extra patience - you'll have a lot of company out there.

Quincy J. Walters / WUSF News

Imagine that you're driving and you approach a blind corner. What you don't know is that another car is approaching at a high rate of speed. Then, your car automatically stops - avoiding a collision on its own. 

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson said that this isn't technology of the future - it's the technology of today. 

"We're bringing transportation into the 21st century," Nelson said. "And Tampa is at the center of it all."

Steve Gaskins / FHP

It wasn't happy hour, but the beer was flowing on southbound Interstate 75 when a Budweiser truck overturned.

The Florida Highway Patrol says beer cans were strewn along the highway north of Tampa early Tuesday after 23-year-old truck driver Malcolm Jamal Wilcox of Fernandina Beach became distracted by a small dog riding in the cab and lost control of the vehicle.

The truck went onto the outside shoulder and the driver overcorrected, crossed the highway and hit the center median guardrail before overturning.

Three years ago a blistering assessment by a national advocacy group prompted the Florida Department of Transportation to get serious about making the state’s roadways safer for pedestrians and cyclists. After four Florida metropolitan areas were ranked as the most dangerous for pedestrians, FDOT leaders began to consider making design changes such as building narrower lanes.

Proponents of narrower lanes argue that wide, open lanes encourage motorists to hit the gas and endanger pedestrians, while narrow lanes force motorists to slow down.

S. Dale Mabry/I-275 Exit Closes For Four Months

May 27, 2014
WUSF

The next four months will be a test of patience for regulars of one of the busiest I-275 exits. The Department of Transportation's closure of the southbound Dale Mabry exit is scheduled to take place tonight at 11:30 p.m. as part of the project to widen the interstate.

Cheryl Underwood, who travels from St. Petersburg to Tampa each day, expects her commute time to increase significantly.

"It will be quite congested," Underwood said. "My half hour ride home- half hour, one hour- will probably be more like two hours."

Florida Department of Transportation

Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard is closed at U.S. 19 in Clearwater after officials said a truck hit the overpass.

According to the Florida Department of Transportation, the truck damaged a bridge girder when it hit the overpass.

Officials said the steel girder, which weighs about 70 tons and was part of the old bridge, is now hanging and needs to be removed.

Engineers will remove all four girders on the old U.S. 19 bridge over Gulf-to-Bay over the next 24 to 48 hours.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area and expect delays.

Moving Forward with Gateway Express in Pinellas

Feb 17, 2014
Florida Department of Transportation

The Gateway Express project is moving forward. The future elevated toll-way in Pinellas County will connect I-275 to U.S. 19, I-275 to the St. Petersburg/ Clearwater Airport, and the Bayside Bridge.

Construction for the Gateway Express is set to start in 2017.

The project is expected to cost $338 million dollars. There are federal, state and Penny for Pinellas funds paying for the project.

Kris Carson, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Transportation said the expressway is another option to get around.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

For the first time in its almost forty year history, undergraduate freshmen will be attending University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.

Until last year, USFSM was an 'upper-division transfer university,' offering two-year baccalaureate degrees, as well as master's degrees. In 2012, the school began accepting sophomores, and this year, the campus is welcoming its inaugural batch of freshmen.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

To take some liberties with an old adage, this is a case where both the squeaky AND the speedy wheels get the grease.

Students, staff and the community have been raising their voices about a dangerous stretch of U.S. 41 in front of the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus after a series of deadly accidents -- and it looks like their complaints are finally being heard.


SR 60 in Lake Wales May Stay Closed For Hours

Jan 9, 2013
Polk County Sheriff's Department

State Road 60 in Lake Wales is closed in both directions at Kissimmee Shores after an accident at 6 this morning. Both drivers were killed after their vehicles, a semi and a car, burst into flames on impact.

Around 11 this morning, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said it would take about 3 to 4 hours to clear the wreckage.

The only travel alternate suggested is Walk-in-Water Road.

tampa-xway.com

The Republican National Convention is bringing lots of changes across the Tampa Bay area. And one of those changes we might want to plan ahead for is coming to the Selmon Expressway.

If you travel the Selmon Expressway, start planning your RNC detours soon.

The express way local lanes will be closed between Willow Avenue and 50th Street Monday at 12:30 a.m. through Friday at about 5 a.m. that week of the convention. 

The reversible lanes will remain open and operate as normal.

floridaplates.com

Last week, we reported that Tampa Bay's roads were among the most congested in the country. But new numbers suggest bay-area traffic is more than just inconvenient. It's also abnormally fatal.

econtech.com

A study by the GPS maker TomTom confirms what many bay-area drivers already know: that getting around Tampa is no picnic. According to the 2012 TomTom Congestion Index, Tampa has the fifth-worst traffic  in North America.

With the help of millions of GPS users, the study compared estimated travel times with how long it actually took folks to get from Point A to Point B during rush hour. The most congested cities were:

Road Closures in Tampa Area

Jun 25, 2012
Bay News 9

The Tampa Bay Times reports the following road closures:

• Sunshine Skyway Bridge

• Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa.

• Southbound exit at 54th Street from I-275 in St. Petersburg.

• Hillsborough Avenue from Hanley Road to Sawyer Road, Tampa.

• County Road 95 east of U.S. 19, Palm Harbor.

• Memorial Highway from George Road to Dana Shores Drive

• Traffic restricted on Old Coachman Road, Clearwater.

• Traffic is restricted at East Enterprise Road east of Frisco Drive in Clearwater.

Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Gas prices have been dropping all week just in time for the Memorial Day Holiday weekend. That means you can expect more drivers on the road.

The average price of gas is $3.41 Tampa-- slipping by more than 30 cents from the average price a month ago.

AAA says the lower gas prices could mean more drivers on the road.

AAA spokeswoman Jessica Brady says they're estimating 1.6 million Florida residents will hit the road this holiday weekend. And that doesn't include people coming into the sunshine state.

Tampa's Traffic Congestion Has Increased

May 22, 2012
Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

You're not imagining it- traffic is getting worse in Tampa. According to a study done by traffic research group INRIX, traffic congestion has increased in Tampa from 2010 to 2011, the latest information available.

Most of the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas had less traffic congestion last year- but not Tampa.

30 of the nation's largest metro areas have increased traffic congestion and four Florida cities made the top 10 with Tampa taking the crown.

Cities with the biggest increases in traffic congestion are:

Ashley Drive in Downtown Tampa Reopens

May 18, 2012
Google Maps

According to the Tampa Bay Times, one northbound lane and two southbound lanes of Ashley Drive are reopened  Friday at Polk Street. A railroad construction project in Downtown Tampa is moving along ahead of schedule.

CSX is replacing railroad tracks along Polk Street. The project was expected to take three weeks to complete. Ashley Drive was closed since May 7.

Officials say they expect to reopen all Ashley Drive lanes by next week. 

Deadly US 27 Crash Caused by Smoke and Fog

Mar 6, 2012
Bay News 9

There's been a deadly vehicle pile up on US Highway 27, in Polk County around the Lake Wales area.

Police say one person is dead, and several are injured in the 9-vehicle crash.

Around 5 this morning, a truck  traveling southbound crossed the median and hit an SUV. Then, motorcyclist Frederick Wood of Frostproof crashed into them and was killed.