The proposed East-West Road study area was bordered by I-275 on the west, CR 581 (Bruce B. Downs Boulevard) on the east, a Tampa Electric Company (TECO) transmission line easement on the south, and the Pasco County Line on the north.
The East-West Road PD&E Study included the development and evaluation of multiple corridors and alternatives within the study area. The FHWA regulates the addition and modification of access points along the interstate system. Therefore, the study also included the preparation of Preliminary and Final Interchange Justification Reports (PIJRs) for a new I-275/East-West Road interchange located between the existing Bearss Avenue and SR 56 interchanges.
The proposed East-West Road and the proposed East-West Road/I-275 interchange are expected to relieve traffic congestion at adjacent interchanges and on surrounding roadways and enhance mobility within the New Tampa area and Hillsborough and Pasco Counties. The potential benefits include decreased delay at the I-75/SR 56, I-75/Bruce B. Downs Boulevard/CR 581, and I-275/Bearss Avenue interchanges. Motorists now accessing I-75 at Bruce B. Downs Boulevard will be provided the option of accessing I-275 instead, via the proposed East-West Road interchange. I-275 has lower traffic volumes and more available capacity than the parallel portion of I-75.
The proposed East-West Road/I-275 interchange exceeds minimum interchange spacing and design requirements; therefore, no design exceptions are anticipated. In addition, no adverse traffic impacts are anticipated as a result of the proposed interchange and roadway, and motorists throughout the area will realize the benefits of improved traffic distribution, better system connectivity, improved hurricane evacuation, increased detour options, and better emergency response times.
Study Purpose and Need
The purpose of the City’s East-West Road PD&E Study was to establish the location and conceptual design for a new east-west connection and interchange with I-275 that will relieve traffic congestion at adjacent interchanges and on surrounding roadways and enhance mobility within the New Tampa area and Hillsborough and Pasco Counties.
In 2001, the City of Tampa (City) in consultation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) commenced a Project Development and Environment (PD&E) Study in an area of northern Hillsborough County commonly known as “New Tampa.” The purpose of the study is to identify and evaluate potential locations, develop conceptual alignments, and identify impacts and mitigation measures for a proposed new East-West Road corridor including a new interchange with I-275.
The New Tampa area and portions of southern Pasco County are experiencing a dramatic increase in population and employment base. To address the social and economic needs created by this growth, the transportation infrastructure must be expanded to insure that mobility is maintained on Florida’s Interstate and Intrastate Highway Systems and to enhance mobility between existing and proposed developments and the roadway network. Capacity improvements are needed to accommodate the population and employment growth. A new East-West Road corridor with a new interchange at I-275 is being proposed to relieve traffic congestion at adjacent interchanges and on surrounding roadways and enhance mobility within the City of Tampa and Hillsborough and Pasco counties.