TAMPA, Fla — Interstate 4 is a major gateway in and out of the Tampa Bay region. The east-west connection links our area to the economic meccas of our state, the amusement parks.
While traffic is typically lighter over the summer, thrill-seekers and tourists keep the interstate busy year-round. It’s why the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) continues to study plans for a multi-lane transportation improvement project for I-4.
Its goal? To make the drive easier for a 22.1 mile section of the interstate from east of 50th Street in Hillsborough County to the Polk Parkway in Polk County.
Options include everything from widening I-4, to adding two separate tolled express lanes in each direction. It’s what FDOT recently completed in Orlando, through Orange and Seminole Counties, known locally as I-4 Express.
Similar to the Veterans Expressway in Tampa, I-4 Express contains general use lanes and toll lanes giving people options to bypass traffic if they’re willing to pay the toll.
The highspeed rail company, Brightline is studying alternatives to relieve congestion as well.
For now, the I-4 improvement project through Tampa is still in the planning phase. Its goals include enhancing safety, reducing delays and accommodating for population and employment growth.
A construction date hasn’t been set.