Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Just in time for Christmas - Interstate 275, that is!

As you probably know already, we have had some changes in traffic patterns and a lane of Interstate 75 at Exit 301 has recently reopened.

First, Interstate 75 at Exit 301...

The right southbound lane as it crosses FL 50 and US 98 has recently reopened ahead of schedule. I have not been by there yet to check it out, but I got to give the Florida DOT credit for having this important interstate highway repaired in the shortest time possible.

Second, the Tampa International Airport interchange north of Interstate 275...

Several new ramps have opened in the area enabling traffic from the Veterans Expressway (FL Toll 589) as well as coming from the Courtney Campell Causeway (FL 60) to free flow more better into Tampa International Airport as well as Interstate 275.

One of the new ramps involves getting onto Spruce Street from FL 60 east. It used to be that you had to exit to the right before construction and most recently you had to exit to the left. That has changed and motorists can transition from eastbound FL 60 to Spruce Street using a new overpass, exiting to the right.

Another new ramp involves getting onto the George Bean Parkway into Tampa International Airport. Back in the old days when you came from the Veterans Expressway or Clearwater you got off and had to take the circular right turn ramp. Now you can transition from eastbound FL 60 to Tampa International Airport using a new overpass as well.

And did I say another new ramp? There's a new ramp that has opened that enables motorists to transition from westbound FL 60 or from Interstate 275 onto Spruce Street without having to detour through the airport. This is a replacement ramp for those of you that were used to exiting onto Cypress Street coming from St. Petersburg on northbound Interstate 275 at Exit 39B when that direct access ramp to Cypress Street had to be closed permanently to make way for more new ramps as part of the airport interchange project.

Getting to Cypress Street is simple from St. Petersburg on northbound Interstate 275: After taking Exit 39B, follow the signs for Spruce Street and exit there. Once on Spruce Street, go to the first traffic signal which is O'Brien Street and take a right. Follow O'Brien Street for about half a mile and that will place you onto Cypress Street. Isn't that easy?

And more ramps in the Tampa International Airport area are on the horizon, including a ramp that will deliver you straight onto southbound Interstate 275 from the airport if you are headed for St. Petersburg. Talk about red carpet service!

In closing, I would like to say Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year 2009!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Southbound Interstate 75 at Exit 301 Alert!

As you probably know by now, a serious accident has occurred today (Tuesday, 9 December 2008) on Interstate 75 at Exit 301, which is also known as FL 50 and US 98 near Brooksville. A dump truck traveling eastbound on FL 50 hit a few of the concrete girders that carry southbound Interstate 75 over FL 50 causing severe damage. The damage is almost similar to an accident that happened in June 2008 over at Interstate 75’s Exit 224, US 301, but on a smaller scale.

According to a
Bay News 9 article and the pictures it appears that the girders carrying the right southbound lane will need replacement. Moreover, traffic on FL 50is reduced to two-way traffic as crews begin the process of cleaning up the damage and eventually replacement of the damaged concrete beams. The overpasses were constructed around 1964 when one of the many segments of the original Interstate 75 was opened in north and central Florida.

Until the concrete beams are replaced, it is going to mean lane closures and major inconveniences both for southbound Interstate 75 and FL 50 in both directions. Depending on the extent of the damage, the repairs may result from replacement of the damaged beams in question to replacement of the segment of overpass; that is up to the Florida DOT.

Northbound Interstate 75 crossing FL 50. This 2006 photo illustrates what the overpass looks like.

As with any construction or repair project, this is going to mean inconveniences such as barricades, long waits in traffic and heavy Florida Highway Patrol and Hernando County Sheriff’s Office presence. Here is what to expect if your travels take you in the vicinity of Interstate 75 at Exit 301 in the next few weeks as crews work feverishly to get the overpass repaired:


All exit and entrance ramps are open; however, expect delays especially if you are entering or exiting on Interstate 75 southbound.

Northbound Interstate 75 is not affected. Be aware of reduced speeds that may be in place.

Southbound Interstate 75 is affected. The right lane of the overpass as it crosses FL 50 will be closed for some time as crews will have to take out the damaged beams and replace them with new beams to match the rest of the beams on the overpass, which was constructed around 1964. If you are headed on southbound Interstate 75 expect to move over to the left lane just before you get to Exit 301. Also be aware of reduced speeds that may be posted in the area.

Should the Florida DOT decide on complete replacement of the segment of southbound Interstate 75 overpass crossing the eastbound lanes of FL 50 it will mean temporary reconfiguration of Interstate 75 similar to that over at Exit 224 earlier this year.

FL 50/US 98:

Both directions of FL 50 are open. However, traffic will be narrowed to two lanes utilizing the westbound lanes of FL 50 as you go under Interstate 75.

Hopefully the repairs should take a few weeks to complete, depending on the extent of the damage to the overpass. If you make this section of Interstate 75 at Exit 301a part of your daily travels I would like to hear from you. Please drive safely when going through this area and be safe.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Interstate275Florida.com Website Transition is Done!

After one week without a web host, Interstate275Florida.com is back in business!

It's a long story, but in the end we have solved our technical issues and we are back online. You may notice that many of the features of Interstate275Florida.com are back with a few exceptions. For example, the Interstate 375 and Interstate 175 pages have still yet to be fine tuned, but I'll have them up shortly.

Now I need your help.

I have checked the website for functionality prior to publishing it to the server. However, if you come across anything (such as broken links) that I should be made aware of please feel free to contact me using the Feedback page on Interstate275Florida.com.

Hopefully you will like the new format I have given Interstate275Florida.com and I welcome your comments. Thanks for your patience as the transition was done. And by the way, more on the technical aspects of why Interstate275Florida.com was offline for a week later.