“If you build it, they will come.” — Shoeless Joe Jackson.
The burgeoning population of southern Hillsborough County has created a traffic nightmare at Big Bend Road and I-75. Motorists wait in long lines to enter and exit the interstate, with the impatient ones rushing to the front and cutting everyone off, causing accidents and more havoc.
In recognition of the rapid growth of the South County area, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has partnered with Hillsborough County to develop long-term solutions to help alleviate traffic congestion.
Roadway reconstruction kicked off in December 2021 and FDOT District 7 recently held a Construction Open House to educate the community of the upcoming improvements, provide a timeline for construction as well as field questions from residents and business owners in the SouthShore area about the I-75/Big Bend Interchange Improvements.
More than 500 people attended the in-person meeting or participated in a virtual tour featuring live chat.
“The virtual open house worked great,” reported Kristen Carson, FDOT District 7 communications manager. “We have the maps and information still available online.”
Put www.fdottampabay.com/I-75-virtual-open-house/ into your browser or navigate from www.fdottampabay.com.
She stated that the public expressed excitement that the project is underway. “They only wish it could be done sooner,” said Carson.
Improvements on this $81.7 million project include:
• Adding a new northbound I-75 entrance ramp from westbound Big Bend Road.
• Adding a new southbound I-75 exit ramp to westbound Big Bend Road.
• Increasing the storage area at the base of the northbound I-75 exit ramp by adding a left-turn lane onto westbound Big Bend Road.
• Extending the southbound I-75 exit ramp lane approaching Big Bend Road and adding dual right-turn lanes to westbound Big Bend Road.
• Adding a triple right-turn lane controlled by a signal from the southbound I-75 exit ramp to eastbound Big Bend Road.
• Adding signalized dual left-turn movements from westbound Big Bend Road to southbound I-75 and eastbound Big Bend Road to northbound I-75.
• Widening Big Bend Road between Covington Garden Drive and Simmons Loop from a four-lane divided road to six lanes featuring enhanced pedestrian, bicycle, and bus facilities.
• Rebuilding the Old Big Bend Road and Big Bend Road bridges.
The project is expected to be completed in September 2025. Residents interested in receiving construction updates, including nightly lane closures, should sign up on the FDOT website at www.fdottampabay.com; reference project 424513-3-52-01. For more information on this construction project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Melissa Chin, P.E., FDOT construction project manager, at 813-975-3573.