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Work On Howard Frankland Bridge Expansion To Be Accelerated, DeSantis Says

Howard Frankland Bridge
The Howard Frankland Bridge across Tampa Bay, as seen driving northbound during a traffic jam at rush hour.

Taking advantage of what he terms “a trickle” of traffic on major thoroughfares due to residents heeding stay-at-home coronavirus orders, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will accelerate various road projects throughout the state.

As a result, work on the Howard Frankland Bridge expansion will be accelerated by four weeks.

During his Wednesday news conference, in which he announced a statewide 30-day stay-at-home order, DeSantis said the Howard Frankland Bridge project is among several that will take precedence in the coming months.

DeSantis said he has ordered Kevin J. Thibault to accelerate $2.1 billion in transportation projects.

“You have the ability to operate a long time during the day,” DeSantis said. “You can close down more lanes because the traffic isn’t what it was and you can really start to make progress on some of these key projects.”

The $814 million Howard Frankland project calls for a new eight-lane Howard Frankland Bridge that will be used as a partial expansion of the old one.

The three-mile bridge will include four southbound lanes from Tampa to St. Petersburg, two express toll lanes in each direction and a bike and pedestrian trail. The four current southbound lanes will be flipped and will now go northbound from St. Petersburg to Tampa.

It’s scheduled to be completed in 2024.

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