Sunday, June 9, 2013

Delays on the Veterans Expressway Ahead

I know, this isn't quite Interstate 275 related but many of you use the Veterans Expressway (FL Toll 589) in order to get to Interstate 275 and to Tampa or to St. Petersburg.  The work commenced on Monday, 20 May 2013, so be prepared for some delays on the Veterans Expressway due to a major widening project!
This project will involve widening the Veterans Expressway in three phases, according to the folks over at Florida's Turnpike:
Phase I involves widening the expressway from Memorial Highway to Gunn Highway.  This is the current project and we'll get to that momentarily.
Phase II involves widening the expressway from Gunn Highway to the Sugarwood Toll Plaza.  Construction should begin sometime in 2014.
Phase III involves widening the expressway from the Sugarwood Toll Plaza to Van Dyke Road.  Construction should begin sometime in 2015.
Phase I not only involves widening the expressway from Memorial Highway to Gunn Highway, it also involves the conversion of the Anderson Road Toll Plaza from its traditional toll collection format to all electronic tolling using SunPass, similar to the system already in place on the Selmon Crosstown Expressway in Tampa.  In other words, there will be no toll booths for toll collectors to take your money - instead, you will see overhead electronic gantries that will read your SunPass transponder and collect the appropriate toll.
Unfortunately, for those of you that use Anderson Road to enter or exit the Veterans Expressway, the ramp has been closed and demolition of the overpass bridge that takes the ramp over the northbound lanes of the Veterans Expressway is underway.  However, there are plenty of you out there that use the Anderson Road exit coming from the south primarily to reach AMC Theatres' Veterans 24 which is conveniently located just off the expressway.

So, how do I get to Anderson Road (and to AMC Theatres' Veterans 24 for a movie) from the Veterans Expressway coming from the south?  It's very easy, if I shall explain:  Simply exit the Veterans Expressway at Waters Avenue and after you clear the toll plaza (and if you got a SunPass, use the SunPass lane to the far right for your toll savings) be in your right lane so that you can turn east on Waters Avenue.  East on Waters Avenue to the second traffic signal, which will be Anderson Road, but if you are headed to AMC Theatres' Veterans 24, you will want to be in the left lane when you approach Anderson Road.

Allow more time than usual to get to the movie theatre due to the closure of the Anderson Road ramp.  In fact, you can even go to AMC Theatres' website to check out what's playing at Veterans 24 and even purchase your tickets - that way, you can have the ticketing part out of the way and - as AMC Theatres says - be closer to showtime.

As for the Veterans Expressway itself, I know the road work is going to be an inconvenience but in the end the results will pay off:  No more having to stop for toll booths, as the overhead SunPass gantries will electronically take your toll or if you do not have a SunPass you can use toll-by-plate which will capture an image of your license plate and mail you a bill for the toll plus an administrative fee, similar to the setup on toll roads in Miami-Dade County as well as the Selmon Crosstown Expressway right here in Tampa.

Not only you will save on tolls with SunPass here in the Tampa Bay region, you can use your SunPass at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge as well as the Pinellas Bayway too! 

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