The massive Howard Frankland expansion project is underway, and officials say the project is on track to be completed by 2025. FDOT is rebuilding the existing northbound bridge, which was originally constructed in 1959, and adding capacity to alleviate traffic congestion.
The plan for the Howard Frankland Bridge was announced back in 2017. Following the announcement the Florida Department of Transportation conducted public outreach as part of the Tampa Bay Next process and gathered valuable input to enhance the project.
In March 2020, construction costs for the project were estimated to be $865 million.
Howard Frankland Bridge expansion include bike/pedestrian lanes
The new bridge provides four general purpose lanes and two tolled express lanes in each direction. The project also includes a bike/pedestrian path that will connect Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Once complete, drivers can use use four general purpose lanes and two tolled express lanes in each direction.
The new design improves incident management in emergency response situations and provides additional capacity along a critical evacuation route. A portion of the new bridge is being constructed to hold additional weight and can accommodate potential future transit, up to a light rail transit system. Should light rail transit be locally supported for implementation, the existing southbound (1991) bridge would then be widened and travel lanes shifted to the widened bridge.
The bike and pedestrian path is being constructed to provide the community another way across Tampa Bay. The path is approximately 12 feet wide and is separated from the roadway by a barrier. Along the path, four bridge overlooks provide users a resting spot with shade and seating. The pedestrian path connects near 4th Street in Pinellas County and near Reo Street in Hillsborough County.
A massive design-build project that will include express lanes
This project is a design-build project, which means that an overall design concept was put out to bid with design requirements specified in a Request for Proposals. The successful contractor was selected from multiple qualified firms bidding on the contract.
The project includes two tolled express lanes in each direction to provide additional capacity, relieve congestion and provide a more reliable travel time option for passenger and transit vehicles. Tolling will be “dynamic” meaning prices change based on the amount of traffic in the express lanes which maintains a steady traffic flow in the lanes.
You can learn more about the project on the FDOT’s website.