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$814M Bridge Build Planned for Tampa

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

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The Florida Department of Transportation recently issued a preliminary Request for Proposals for the design and construction of Tampa’s new eight-lane Howard Frankland Bridge, the largest contact in the history of the DOT's Tampa Bay office, totaling $814 million.

The current RFP released to the public is only a draft; the final version will be published Dec. 10.

Howard Frankland Bridge

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the bridge, which will carry Interstate 275 over Tampa Bay, will have four lanes of traffic going south, to St. Petersburg, and will also offer four express toll lanes, two going in each direction. The existing northbound bridge will also be removed, given that it’s reaching the end of its lifespan.

Plans for the bridge also include a dedicated pedestrian and bike lane. Officials anticipate that the work will have little impact on traffic, as both spans are to remain open while the new span is built.

Apalapala, CC-BY-SA-2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

The original span, dedicated on Jan. 15, 1960, was built using a low-level trestle with a high clearance halfway along the bridge, along with dredged causeways.

FDOT expects to award the contract in 2019, and work is slated to begin in 2020, with plans forecasting the bridge opening sometime in 2024. The exact form the span will take has yet to be determined: those design-build firms interested in bidding on the project must be qualified to work with concrete, steel or segmental bridge design, according to the RFP.

The expanded capacity of the bridge comes in response to community concerns, including hurricane evacuation.

"These changes improve the previous design proposed for the Howard Frankland bridge and they incorporate feedback from the community and local partners related to safety, transit, bicycle and pedestrian options and future transportation needs,” said District Seven Secretary David Gwynn. “With Hurricane Irma evacuations fresh in our minds and the need to accommodate the growing demand in the Tampa Bay Region, this new design not only improves safety and mobility but continues to enhance multimodal opportunities and choices.”

Hurricane evacuation plans will be able to utilize all lanes, and accommodations for the use of light rail in the future are already incorporated into the design.

Design History

The current plan proposed in the RFP has been years in the making—plans were switched in reaction to a public outcry. In 2016, the state planned to put a toll on an existing lane, which would take away a free lane from an already congested bridge. The plan was revised after significant backlash from members of the community and elected officials.

In early 2017, officials proposed building a six-lane bridge with one toll lane in each direction, slated to cost $630 million. Concerns were raised over this design over whether emergency vehicles could access an accident on a toll lane, and where future light rail tracks would be put. There was also worry over buses slowing down traffic moving through the toll lane. In fall 2017, the plan was updated to its current iteration.

The original span, dedicated on Jan. 15, 1960, was built using a low-level trestle with a high clearance halfway along the bridge, along with dredged causeways. The four-lane bridge had two lanes going in each direction, separated only by a narrow divider at first. Later adjustments made included a new southbound span opening in 1991.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Department of Transportation (DOT); Government; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management

Comment from Robert Bullard, (8/23/2018, 3:22 PM)

Is this FDOT fantasy, again. Check price ($814 million) for 8 miles, 8 lanes across T. Bay against the 3 miles, 6 lanes under construction in Pensacola - $400 million, unless, of course, Skanska is making a killing on the Pensacola job.

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