Motorists traveling along Bruce B. Downs Boulevard have to be sharp to avoid accidents during the massive widening project. One day they are driving on one area of the road, while the next day finds them seemingly 20 feet to the left due to a lane shift.
Officials have erected flashing “new traffic pattern” signs along the roadway to alert drivers. This New Tampa Patch editor has seen three fender-benders on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard near Cypress Preserve Drive the past two weeks. But Steve Valdez, spokesman for Hillsborough County Public Works, said drivers are remaining alert for the most part.
“It really has not been much of an issue considering the volume of traffic we see,” he said.
Timeline: Good News and Bad News
Motorists will have to continue to keep their eyes peeled for awhile. The northern portion of the project is on track — even a bit ahead of schedule — yet the southern portion is about three months behind because of the necessary relocation of a water line, Valdez said.
The overall $37 million project was expected to be completed at the end of 2012 and will bring Bruce B. Downs Boulevard from four to eight lanes between Palms Springs Boulevard and Pebble Creek Drive. Valdez said the delay is south of the Interstate 75 overpass. That portion of the project should be complete around March.
Aside from the water line issue, the project has been going well, said KCI Technologies Engineer Scott Passmore.
“From January to now, we have had good weather,” Passmore said. “That’s allowed us to progress quickly. … The contractor expects to be done early (in the northern section).”
In addition to increasing the number of traffic lanes, the construction project will bring landscaped medians, a sidewalk and asphalt path plus bus bays. Motorists and business owners are certain to be happy when the final construction cone is removed from New Tampa. It has tested the patience of many.
Stacy Hiles, owner of on Cross Creek Boulevard, earlier this year said her bottom line has been impacted even though she is pretty far removed from Bruce B. Downs Boulevard itself.
“I have customers who are taking 3 times longer to get here!” she wrote to Patch.