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I-275 expansion: Last chance for Tampa Heights residents to voice their concerns

Changes in the past have historically cut directly through neighborhoods, destroyed homes and created more highway noise in their neighborhoods.

TAMPA, Fla. — The Florida Department of Transportation started construction last October to widen Interstate 275 from the interchange north of Hillsborough Avenue and it is preparing to start another project next year that would add lanes and move an exit to help clear the log jam of traffic.

Tuesday's virtual meeting is really the last chance for people to talk about how they really feel about these changes ⁠— changes that have historically cut directly through neighborhoods, destroyed homes and created more highway noise in their neighborhoods.

FDOT says major changes through the I-275 and I-4 interchange are desperately needed, especially as the population in the Tampa Bay area continues to grow exponentially.

While this may bring relief for many drivers who use this highway, they may not notice the homes they are speeding past ⁠— homes and businesses where people live and work that are now disrupted by highway noise or destroyed by construction.

While residents in the area know the changes are needed, in past meetings they've still shown they don't fully trust FDOT. 

"We know that every time FDOT touches that interstate, people's property values go down. People's livelihoods go down," Chris Vela with Sunshine Citizen previously told 10 Tampa Bay. "We see more crashes on the interstate. We see more crashes on the roads serving the interstate, and everyone's still stuck in traffic jams."

Tuesday's meeting will be held virtually and is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. 

It's the final meeting for the Tampa Heights community to give some input on what they think needs to be done.

You can sign up to attend the meeting at tampabaynext.com.