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Improvement projects coming to 4 Tampa neighborhoods: What to expect

East Tampa, Forest Hills, Macfarlane Park and Virginia Park will be undergoing water and transportation improvements.

TAMPA, Fla. — Four Tampa neighborhoods are about to see some major improvements. But, they can expect "a little bit of inconvenience" as it happens, according to Mayor Jane Castor.

After approving the plans in 2019, the city is beginning construction on the Foundations for Tampa’s Neighborhoods project in East Tampa, Forest Hills, Macfarlane Park and Virginia Park.

The project, which is part of Castor's Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow initiative, will include improvements to main water lines, wastewater and stormwater solutions, and transportation within the neighborhoods.

The city will start with tackling the wastewater pipes.

Workers will use an advanced method that won't require them to dig up the ground, the mayor explained at a news conference on Monday. It involves putting a lining in the existing pipes, pumping pressurized water through them to create a new pipeline and then cutting away the old links. 

“I often say that Tampa is built on a strong foundation of safety and security,” Castor said. “Literal translation: Tampa is built on a strong foundation of infrastructure and many of our water, wastewater pipes are over 100 years old.”

Unfortunately, the non-invasive method won't work for the regular water lines which will need to be dug up and replaced the old-fashioned way. The same goes for many of the stormwater drains.

But, the mayor explained, the city will do its best to keep the disruptions to a minimum.

“There will be a little bit of inconvenience. We can’t make the improvements without closing down some of the roadways, but we do it in the least invasive way possible," she said.

The final step will be transportation improvements, which include digging up and replacing old roadways and putting a new traffic light on Macdill Avenue near Macfarlane Park.

While people living in the affected neighborhoods will have to deal with a bit of construction, they can look forward to improvements like better water pressure and fire protection, reduced flooding, fewer water line breaks and better roads.

Brad Baird, Tampa's infrastructure administrator, joined the mayor to explain how residents can stay up to date on the projects.

He explained that the city will be sharing frequent updates on social media, communicating with the affected neighborhoods through Next Door, and sending out the latest in the city's newsletters.

You can watch the full news conference below.

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