Since the Hillsborough County section of Interstate 75 was completed in 1985, population growth along the highway’s path in the last 37 years now makes a timely journey from Southern Hillsborough County to points north and south a gamble because of delays caused by heavy traffic, as well as the driving mishaps that road congestion sometimes plays a role in.
To address the need for improvements to I-75 as it passes through Hillsborough and Manatee Counties, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is developing projects to increase the traffic capacity and overall safety on a 41-mile stretch of the highway, and it is inviting the public to a hearing on the proposed work. The hearing is part of Project Development and Environment Studies the agency is conducting to evaluate proposed improvements.
There are two projects under development. One starts at Moccasin Wallow Rd. in Manatee County and goes north for 23 miles, ending south of U.S. 301 in Hillsborough County. The other extends for 18 miles, from south of U.S. 301 to north of Bruce B. Downs Blvd. in Hillsborough County.
Proposed features include the addition of 12-foot express lanes in each direction in the median as well as improving safety features and stormwater management infrastructure.
The public is invited to participate in the process by attending a hearing on Thursday, January 27. The hearing will be held in person with online capability.
Kristen Carson, public information director of FDOT’s District Seven, said it is important for people to take an interest in how their transportation needs are being met.
“The feedback of the community is very important to FDOT with every project we study so we can take into account the needs and concerns of the citizens,” she wrote in an email.
The public hearing will take place on January 27 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., with the main presentation starting at 6:30 p.m. It will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Riverview, located at 4328 Garden Vista Dr. Virtual participants must register on the FDOT I-75 project website at www.fdotd7studies.com to participate.
Project information is available for review on the I-75 project website and in person at the Brandon Regional Library and the Ruskin Branch Library until Monday, February 7. Materials can also be viewed at FDOT District Seven’s office at 11201 N. McKinley Dr. in Tampa.