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Up to Speed: Transportation project connecting St. Pete, Clearwater and Tampa makes progress

Relief is on the horizon for drivers in Pinellas County. The ongoing construction to the Gateway Expressway makes progress in plan to connect area roads to Tampa.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — For some drivers, getting through portions of Pinellas County may seem like a never-ending construction zone. Construction to what’s known as the Gateway Expressway has been going on for the past four years.

The project will connect St. Pete, Clearwater and Tampa once it's complete.

The estimated cost at one point was $580 million dollars. FDOT now reports construction costs to be $594.7 million.

Crews are working on creating two new four-lane elevated toll roads. One between US-19 and I-275 and another between the Bayside Bridge in Clearwater to I-275. These new express connections will be called SR-690, and SR-686A. FDOT says “It will provide a faster, safer and more convenient travel experience.”

Express lanes will also be added to I-275 in each direction from south of Gandy to 4th St. North at the base of the Howard Frankland bridge.

The project, which launched in 2017, is why you see this ongoing construction in front of the St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport.

Other improvements include:

  • Rebuilding existing Roosevelt Boulevard from the Bayside Bridge to Ulmerton Road as generally two one-way surface roads including a new access configuration and roads for the St. Pete-Clearwater International (PIE) Airport terminal.
  • Repaving 118th Avenue N from US 19 to 31st Court North.
  • Repairing or rebuilding sections of existing US 19 and 118th Avenue N including new ramps and bridges.
  • Repaving the eastbound off-ramp from SR 690 to southbound I-275.

In St. Pete, the new roads will relieve congestion along the crowded 118th Avenue North, Roosevelt Boulevard and Ulmerton Road.

Crews are more than halfway done with the project. It’s slated to be complete by 2023. Until then, expect traffic delays and overnight lane closures in the area. 

The new roads will be part of the Sunpass prepaid toll system. So, all tolls will be collected electronically.

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