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Local tolls suspended, workers clearing roads to ease evacuations

Construction crews have been opening lanes and removing possible hazards.

TAMPA, Fla — Transportation workers are making sure that the path is clear for people who might be trying to evacuate to escape the possible impacts of Hurricane Ian.

Construction crews have been opening lanes and removing possible hazards.

Seventeen construction cranes that had been working on the new Howard Frankland Bridge span now sit isolated in Old Tampa Bay to reduce the chances that Hurricane Ian might blow them into the construction or traffic.

Road crews are also picking up signs, barrels and barricades to open up more lanes for people looking to evacuate.

"We want the capacity for you to get out of there," said Sue Chrzan, a spokesperson for the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority. "We’re looking to help you get out of there. We are taking away the barrel so that nothing hits you while you’re trying to get out of there."

“Also, so that our guys are safe. We don’t want our guys and girls who are out there in harm’s way during this, so we pull everything off during the storm, you’ll start seeing people come back once the storm has passed and start putting construction cones out again or just cleaning up the debris,” Chrzan said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has also suspended tolls on local roadways, and the reversible express lanes on the Selmon Expressway will remain open in the eastbound direction so that people will have another path to get out of harm’s way without concern over how much it might cost.

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