Pinellas County's U.S. 19 expansion could cause some driver delays over the next few years
The project, which is slated to cost more than $240 million, is taking place between State Road 580 and County Road 95.
The Florida Department of Transportation is beginning a multi-year construction project that will create interchanges and improve safety on a long stretch of U.S. 19.
The project — which is slated to cost more than $240 million — is taking place between State Road 580 and County Road 95.
It will convert the six-lane divided highway into a controlled access highway that will include more interchanges and frontage roads, which run parallel to high-speed roadways.
FDOT spokesperson Kris Carson says the frontage roads will help separate slower and faster traffic.
The project will also add a pedestrian underpass between Evans Road and Republic Drive, and a pedestrian bridge at Northside Drive.
“There's a lot of high speeds on U.S. 19, so we really want to include something for this project that can separate those types of motorists from pedestrians, and bicyclists from cars,” Carson said.
Carson said the project is similar to an expansion of U.S. 19 south of State Road 580, as the state looks to improve one of the county’s main roadway arteries.
Three additional smaller projects will create interchanges as well. One will stretch from Nebraska Avenue to Timberland Road, while the other two will go from Timberland Road to Lake Street, and from County Road 95 and Pine Ridge Way South.
All three are still in the design phase as they await funding.
FDOT officials estimate the larger-scale project will impact drivers while construction is taking place.
"Look for changes almost every week possibly, depending on what month we're in of the job,” Carson said. “And slow down. There's gonna be construction workers out there many times. For their safety and for everyone's safety, we need everyone's speeds to be really a lot slower out there."
FDOT is holding an open house on May 16 at the Countryside Recreation Center, where businesses and residents can ask questions and see what the project will look like.
There will also be a virtual open house earlier that same day.
The project is expected to be complete by late 2028 or early 2029, according to FDOT.
It's ramping up just as the Gateway Expressway, which will link U.S. 19 and the Bayside Bridge to I-275, could be completed by the end of the year or in early 2024.
For more information on roadway projects that in the Greater Tampa Bay region, visit the FDOT District 7 website.