The Florida Department of Transportation has scheduled hearings in St. Petersburg and Tampa to give residents a chance to comment about plans to replace the northbound Howard Frankland Bridge.
The span, which was reopened in January 1993, is nearing the end of its “serviceable life,” FDOT officials say.
The FDOT is currently in the second phase of a long-range plan for replacing the bridge by conducting a comprehensive study that will help determine the location and conceptual design of feasible alternatives for roadway improvements. It will also look at the social, economic and environmental effects of those options. A no-build alternative, which considers leaving the roadway in its present state with routine maintenance, remains a viable alternative throughout the study.
When the study is complete and a preferred option has been chosen, the project will go into the design phase. The FDOT expects that to happen by next spring. Construction could begin in 2018 with completion sometime in the 2022 to 2024 time frame.
The FDOT is simultaneously conducting a separate, but related, transit corridor evaluation study. This study is looking at ways to use the bridge as a mass transit link between Pinellas and Hillsborough. Among the types of transit being studied — rail, managed/dedicated lanes, bus rapid transit and express bus service.
Using the Howard Frankland as a transit link to connect Pinellas and Hillsborough is part of a larger initiative identified by the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority. TBARTA adopted a regional master plan in 2009 that was updated in 2011 for regional mass transit connectivity among the seven counties in western Central Florida — Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota. Other key elements include connections to airports and seaports, and strategies for improving air quality and land use.
The FDOT public hearings on the proposed Howard Frankland replacement will give residents an opportunity to provide comments concerning the location, conceptual design, and social, economic, and environmental effects of replacing the northbound bridge span of the Howard Frankland Bridge.
The first hearing is scheduled 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon, 950 Lake Carillon Drive, St. Petersburg. The formal presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m.
The second is scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Tampa Marriott Westshore, 1001 N. Westshore Blvd., Tampa. The formal presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m.