Beltway proposed for Tampa
Local officials in the Tampa/Hillsborough County area are expected to unveil a proposal for a beltway that could serve as an alternative to Interstate 75 and Interstate 4 traffic.
A report in Thursday's Tampa Tribune said the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority has been putting together plans for a beltway and will make a presentation to the Hillsborough County commissioners on August 2.
Much of the project is likely a decade into the future, the report said. But such a project would significantly impact traffic flows throughout the Tampa area and would alleviate pressures on growing truck traffic and congestion.
The Florida Department of Transportation is also looking at prospects for a beltway around Tampa, and local elected officials were quoted as saying the county plan would eventually mirror any state proposal. But they have suggested using the Expressway Authority to oversee the project.
General plans call for a start of completely new highway construction starting south of Tampa, where I-275, which diverts from I-75 to St. Petersburg, meets I-75. The new highway would extend east from that point, then bend north, running parallel to, but several miles east of I-75. The beltway would continue north past I-4 into Pasco County, then would head west to the Suncoast Parkway. The existing Suncoast Parkway and I-275 would make up the remainder of the beltway.
The report said the beltway would loop around Tampa for 120 miles, with about 70 miles to 80 miles consisting of newly constructed highway.
Local officials said the project has been kept quiet during the early planning stages in part to avoid land speculation.