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Hillsborough leaders approve plan to improve Downtown Tampa Interchange

The area known as 'Malfunction Junction' connects I-275 and I-4.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Getting through Downtown Tampa during rush hour, or really any time of day can be painstaking for drivers. 

It’s why the intersection of Interstate-275 and Interstate-4 is known as “Malfunction Junction.”

On Wednesday, Hillsborough County transportation leaders approved a plan that looks to improve the notorious intersection by acquiring the “right of way” on seven parcels of land throughout Downtown Tampa.

The cost for this portion of the project is more than $2.5 million and is part of the Florida Department of Transportation’s, Tampa Bay Next Project.  

One proposed way to alleviate traffic near the downtown interchange includes creating a two-lane ramp connection to the I-275 southbound exit to I-4. 

FDOT says this portion of the plan will create a more than 20-percent crash reduction along southbound I-275 to eastbound I-4.

It will also create a 35-percent crash reduction on I-4 between the eastbound flyover ramp and 21st/22nd Street exit ramp by adding additional access points in Ybor City.

Critics of the project say continued work to the interstates will further displace several ethnic and urban communities.

In a roll call vote, Hillsborough County Commissioners approved the measure 13 to 1.

FDOT reported more than 500 crashes at the interchange in 2012 and more than 1,000 in 2018.

The right of way project will include plans to build noise walls along the corridor, improve landscaping and lighting. Better walking and biking access through the entranceways to Ybor City is also included in the project's plans.

For now, the project is still in the planning phase, construction isn’t expected to start for at least another four years.

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