Issue: 10 


Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) eNews 

October 2013    


glowing line separator 01

Public invited to Howard Frankland hearings October 8th & 10th


The Florida Department of Transportation will hold public hearings on the replacement of the northbound Howard Frankland Bridge (I-275/SR 93) in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties.  This span of the bridge opened to traffic in 1959 and is nearing the end of its serviceable life.


The proposed improvements involve replacement of the four-lane northbound I-275 Howard Frankland Bridge over Old Tampa Bay and evaluating options for accommodating a future premium transit envelope within the bridge corridor.

A simultaneous Regional Transit Corridor Evaluation is underway to evaluate premium transit alternatives within the bridge corridor to link the Gateway area in Pinellas County to the Westshore area in Hillsborough County.

The purpose of these public hearings is to present information and receive public input regarding the bridge replacement; however, information regarding both studies will be available for review.  These public hearings will be held in two separate sessions at the following locations:

Session 1 - Pinellas County

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Open House
6:00 p.m. Formal Presentation
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
3201 Scherer Drive
St. Petersburg, FL 33716

Session 2 - Hillsborough County

Thursday, October 10, 2013

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Open House
6:00 p.m. Formal Presentation
Tampa Marriott Westshore
1001 North Westshore Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33607  

For more information, contact Ming Gao at 813/975-6000 or visit the project web site.

Tampa to widen Cypress Street


In July, the City of Tampa kicked off plans to widen and make other enhancements to Cypress St from Dale Mabry Hwy to Himes Ave. Conceptual plans are expected in November 2013.


Proposed improvements include:

  • Widening of Cypress St to extend the outside eastbound through lane from Dale Mabry Hwy to Himes Ave
  • Reconstruction of signals at Himes Ave
  • Addition of shared lane markings and sidewalk

The project will also include the addition of bicycle facilities from Himes Ave to N Boulevard and additional sidewalk between Himes Ave and MacDill Ave. Proposed bicycle and pedestrian improvements from Dale Mabry Hwy to N Boulevard will improve mobility between the Westshore District, Hyde Park, and downtown Tampa. The improvements for walkers and bicyclist are consistent with recommendations from the City's Walk-Bike Plan Phase I, which the MPO funded. 


For more info contact Milton Martinez at 813/274-8998 or

Public weighs in on Gandy Connector



The Gandy Connector is a concept for a 1.6 mile elevated toll road over the existing Gandy Blvd to connect the Selmon Expressway to the Gandy Bridge. It is part of the MPO's Long Range Needs Plan, but is not funded.


In response to public concerns, the MPO's Policy Committee has been debating whether to remove the Connector from the MPO's Plan. The Committee previously was briefed on the Connector's impact on hurricane evacuation and future traffic.


In August and September, a public opinion survey was developed to ask questions and learn about preferences regarding a potential Gandy Connector. In the past, many of the options to accommodate anticipated traffic growth in the Gandy area have been unpopular with area residents and business owners.


A survey flyer, which included an artist's rendering of the proposed overhead road, posed the question: "Does this look like a good idea?" Approximately 9,300 property owners within one mile of the Gandy Connector project received the flyer.  Citizens could text their answers to a local phone number, take the survey posted on the MPO's web site, or telephone their responses directly to the MPO. 


The MPO tallied almost 900 survey responses, with 54 percent saying "yes" to the idea of the elevated toll road and 46 percent indicating "no."  Half of the responses came from the text-based survey and the rest came from the web and telephone.


After the initial question, the survey prompted people to answer five follow-up questions. Of the total surveyed, half thought traffic conditions along Gandy Boulevard were failing. When results are separated, those supporting the connector gave it failing grades and those not supporting the connector thought traffic was not a problem. Most of the people who opposed the connector said they want no changes "to roads in the Gandy area."


As for the best way to handle traffic, most respondents preferred an elevated toll road rather than widening Gandy, using nearby roads, or adding a parallel bypass road. Most of the people who opposed the connector said they want no change to Gandy Boulevard.


Full results of the survey and other information related to the Connector are posted to the MPO's web site.  The Policy Committee took no action to take the Gandy Connector out of the Plan, so it remains as an unfunded long-range project.


For more information, contact Lisa Silva at


Hillsborough County builds smarter roads



Employing the latest Intelligent Transportation System technology, Hillsborough County is making traffic flow more smoothly and safely on some of our busiest roadways. Traffic engineer Michael Flick recently briefed the MPO's Citizens Advisory Committee on the County's Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS). The system uses traffic signals, cameras and sensors to feed information to the Hillsborough County Traffic Management Center. There, computers and technicians monitor traffic flows and detect problems on county roads. If problems arise, the ATMS can change traffic signal timing and use variable message signs to route traffic around accidents and congestion.


The County has funded and completed ATMS projects on 20 out of 60 corridors throughout Hillsborough County, including SR 60, Kings Ave, Bloomingdale Ave, Waters Ave, Sheldon Rd, Ehrlich Rd, Linebaugh Ave, Busch Blvd, and Bruce B Downs Blvd. State funding prioritized by the MPO enabled ATMS improvements on other roads such as Gunn Hwy and Dale Mabry Hwy. All together, the 60 corridors accommodate 8.8 million vehicle miles of travel (VMT) in an average day. The top 20 corridors improved so far handle 53 percent of this VMT, and include 243 out of almost 500 signalized intersections. 


Studies show that ATMS provides a tremendous "bang for the buck" in terms of faster travel times as well as fewer crashes, injuries, and fatalities. Mr. Flick reported that the County has committed $14 million to ATMS improvements on the top corridors. Already, ATMS save an estimated 17,500 hours of travel time each week. Crashes have gone down by as much as 76 percent and injuries by as much as 24 percent on corridors where ATMS has been implemented. ATMS also makes traffic flow more efficiently. As a result, roads can accommodate more traffic within the same number of lanes, thereby avoiding or postponing the need for road widenings.  


For more information, contact Michael B. Flick at


Photo courtesy of


City to make Westshore Boulevard a complete street


The City of Tampa is looking at ways to make Westshore Blvd a "complete street." This study will develop feasible "complete street" alternatives based on the recommendations from the Westshore District Public Realm Master Plan. This plan, developed by the University of South Florida's Florida Center for Community Design and Research, provides a framework to make the Westshore district more pedestrian-friendly as new businesses and residents move to the area.


The Study area for the Westshore Boulevard Complete Street Feasibility Study is the public right-of-way on Westshore Blvd from Kennedy Blvd (SR 60) to Spruce St (SR 616). The study should be complete in February 2014.


For more info contact Ben Money at


Gornto Lake extension relieves traffic around Brandon mall  


Hillsborough County's opened the Gornto Lake Rd Extension to traffic last month.  County spokesperson Steve Valdez said that county officials had not expected the road extension to be completed until October or November, but with no need to adjust traffic during construction, "We're coming in way early, and it's so nice."


This is great news if you hate the holiday traffic near the Westfield Brandon shopping mall. If it's a short-cut you seek from State Road 60 in Brandon to Bloomingdale Avenue and ultimately to US 301 in Riverview, this is good news for you too. Now you have a straight shot from Brandon Boulevard (SR 60) to Lumsden Road, then on to Bloomingdale Avenue and to US 301, using the Duncan Road/Krycul Avenue segment.


"It's nice to have another north-south roadway that goes so far, for motorists to take," Valdez said in an earlier interview. "This will be a new north-south connector that's been badly needed."


As for what this will mean for the vacant lands at the southwest and southeast corners of Gornto Lake Road and Town Center Boulevard, expect to see more stores and offices, with sale or lease arrangements being sought by the Eshenbaugh Land Company on behalf of Westfield.

As for the Gornto Lake Road extension, Valdez said it completes Gornto Lake Road work that began some 10 to 15 years ago with the development of the area.


"When Providence Lakes was built, part of the development plan was they had to build a part of the road," Valdez said. "And then when another development came, they had to build a part of the road [and so on]. The last part of [the road construction] was left up to us to do."

With the county's work done on the road extension, he added, "you will be able to go from the Home Depot on US 301 all the way to State Road 60."


At a cost of $3.95-million, Hillsborough County officials constructed 0.738 miles of a four-lane divided roadway with turn lanes, "from south of Brandon Boulevard to approximately 800 feet south of [Brandon] Town Center Boulevard."  Construction started in October 2012 and was expected to take "365 calendar days."


Content reprinted with permission of the Brandon Patch.


Driverless vehicles - coming to a road near you?



Imagine vehicles that can steer, brake and drive themselves without the need for human intervention.  Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority Executive Director Joe Waggoner laid out that vision at the September 3rd meeting of the Hillsborough MPO, likening its impact to the introduction of railroads or automobiles.


So-called "autonomous vehicles" could feature automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, route guidance and other advanced controls to recognize and avoid hazards and group themselves into more compact "platoons" or "caravans."  The potential benefit?  Reduced traffic delays, fewer collisions, less pedestrian deaths, less need for parking, reduced need for highway lanes and maybe even fewer cars per household.


Only three states - California, Nevada and Florida - currently allow the operation of driverless vehicles, but developers predict wider implementation within the next 20 years.

Mr. Waggoner noted that the Expressway Authority is collaborating with the FDOT and USF's Center for Urban Transportation (CUTR) to use the Selmon Expressway, Brandon Parkway, and Meridian Avenue as test beds for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure systems.  MPO members enthusiastically supported the opportunity for Tampa Bay to become a leader in autonomous vehicle technology, research, policy development and related high-tech businesses.

The Expressway Authority commissioned CUTR to conduct a study of the potential for automated vehicle technology to be a regional catalyst.  THEA and FDOT are co-sponsoring a summit on this topic to be held November 14 and 15. For more information, contact the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority at 813/272-6740.

Photo courtesy of Nissan.

Florida roads & bridges score high marks  

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently ranked each state's roads and bridges and published the results in the USA Today newspaper. The FHWA study concluded one out of every 10 bridges in the U.S. are structurally deficient and only 38% of the nation's roads are in "good condition."

Thankfully, Florida's roads and bridges scored high marks on the FHWA study in the following areas:

  • Structurally deficient bridges - 2 percent in Florida, tied for lowest percentage in the nation.
  • Roads in poor condition - 11 percent in Florida, ranked 13th best in the U.S.
  • Roads in good condition - 61.1 percent of roads in Florida are in good condition, 5th best in the nation

The FHWA study also found:

  • $85 billion is required annually to improve the condition of the nation's roads and bridges
  • 42 percent of America's major urban highways remain congested, costing the economy an estimated $101 billion in wasted time and fuel annually
The economic impact of an efficient transportation system is very clear.

For more information, contact the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

In this Issue
Howard Frankland Bridge public hearings
Cypress St widening
Gandy Connector concept
Advanced Traffic Management Systems
Westshore Blvd complete streets
Gornto Lake extension open
Driverless vehicles
FL roads and bridges score high marks




Plan Hillsborough Follow / Join Mailing List  


View All eNews button 


Follow us on Twitter 


Find us on Facebook 



Imagine 2040 : Let?s Design Hillsborough's Future Together
Imagine 2040 video invitation :
Let's Design Hillsborough's Future Together

It's your turn!

Go to:


There are lots of reasons why about half a million more people will live and work here by 2040. The vision you help develop now will guide the plans that are the road map to the future... the 2040 Transportation Plan and the four Comprehensive Plans for Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City and unincorporated Hillsborough County.

Let's work together to turn the challenges that come with growth into opportunities for a thriving future!


Imagine Hillsborough 2040  

Planning Commission 2013 Planning & Design Awards
Thursday, October 17, 2013
6:15 p.m. Reception
7:00 p.m. Dinner & Awards

Tickets $50




Useful Links

Hillsborough TIP 


Tampa Bay Interstates 


Hillsborough County Major Community Projects 


City of Tampa Transportation Division 


City of Tampa Transportation Information Resources 


HART Projects


Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority 


Florida's Turnpike Enterprise Construction 







In accordance with Title VI of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964
and other nondiscrimination laws, public participation is solicited without regard to

race, color, national origin,

age, sex, religion, disability

or family status.