TRAFFIC INBOX: Kennedy Boulevard exit is headache for Howard Frankland drivers

By Chuck Henson, Real Time Traffic Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, March 20, 2017, 10:24 AM EDT

Every day, thousands of drivers sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Howard Frankland Bridge.

But why?

A Bay News 9 viewer wants to know if the state has a plan to clear up that traffic situation.

"This one lane seems to back up all the time," driver Mark Cram said of the Kennedy Boulevard exit.

"I mean, I think it's the major cause for the backup on the Howard Frankland Bridge every afternoon and almost any time of the day," he said.

Cram is one of 139,000 drivers who cross the bridge every day.

If he's not on the bridge before 4 p.m., he says the delays are already back to the hump and many times to the Pinellas County side of the bridge.

"It's everybody getting off at that Kennedy Boulevard exit, and most all of those vehicles to that one lane that goes north toward the (Veterans Expressway)."

The fact that the ramp and interchange at the north end of the bridge were re-built in the last few years doesn't help.


The ramps from southbound Interstate 275 to Interstate 4 and westbound I-4 to northbound I-275 are also single lane ramps.

"I've wondered why they only left one ramp with all the expansion that's been done there in the past, and now what they're doing in Tampa," Cram said.

It is similar to the situation drivers face in the downtown interchange. The ramps from southbound Interstate 275 to Interstate 4 and westbound I-4 to northbound I-275 are also single lane ramps.

That area was scheduled for a re-do as part of the now-stalled Tampa Bay Express Project.

Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kris Carson says the north end of the Howard Frankland Bridge is on the FDOT’s radar, but not for the near future.

"The State Road 60 / I-275 interchange and the ramp coming off the Howard Frankland Bridge heading to the Veterans Expressway and the airport will have additional lanes in the future," Carson said. "However, we are only in concept development now."

The northbound lanes of the Howard Frankland are reaching the end of their life span. Generally that's 50 years. It shouldn't be too long before those concepts the state is working on turn into concrete plans.