Hillsborough County, Florida, will use $33 million to widen a road, called Big Bend Road, in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area and repair sidewalks. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) provided the funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP). The $45.6 million Big Bend Road project is currently in the design phase. Construction will begin in fall 2024.
Hillsborough County officials recently signed an agreement with FDOT to expand Big Bend Road from four to six lanes. The road stretches from U.S. Highways 41 to 301. The county will also add sidewalks, curbs, gutters and shared-use paths to connect neighborhoods to schools, shops and recreational activities along the corridor.
Corridor-improvement plans also call for converting the corridor’s open drainage system to a closed system. Other improvements include replacing the road’s existing diagonal-span wire signal with box-span strain poles. In addition, the county will upgrade the corridor’s water reclaim and sewer lines.
The project will prioritize safety elements to protect pedestrians and bicyclists, according to U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor’s office. This includes high-emphasis crossings at intersections and countdown pedestrian-crossing signals. Plans also call for reflective pavement markers, reflective thermoplastic lane markings and retroreflective signs for nighttime visibility.
The project is part of a $181 million capital investment in the corridor that includes $87 million in combined federal and state grants, according to a presentation to the Board. A $97 million Big Bend/I-75 Interchange project is also underway with completion expected by mid-2025.
The county has plans to widen a stretch of Big Bend from U.S. 41 to Covington Gardens Drive as part of a $24 million project. Construction is slated for fall 2025. The county will also build a $14 million pedestrian overpass connected to the South Coast Greenways Trail. Construction is estimated to start in 2029.
In addition to the Big Bend Road project, Hillsborough officials will invest $20 million to address over 3,000 sidewalk repair requests across the county. The county will direct $15 million toward underserved communities, repairing of 322 miles of sidewalks. Accidents and serious injury stemming from broken or lifted sidewalks have cost the county $2 million in legal settlements, Castor’s office said.
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Photo courtesy of FDOT