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Inside FDOT’s $761.5M plan to widen Gandy Boulevard

Veronica Brezina

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Gandy Bridge. GoogleMaps.

The Florida Department of Transportation District 7 office is exploring a $761.48 million plan to rebuild Gandy Boulevard and its connected street grid, with the promise of reducing congestion and improving trail connections. 

Gandy currently functions as a four-lane divided roadway with multiple bridges, linking Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, and is part of Florida’s high-priority transportation network and serves as a designated hurricane evacuation route. 

The district office is proposing to widen the westbound bridge to three lanes on both sides, while the older eastbound bridge would be demolished and rebuilt, Craig Fox, a design project manager with FDOT District 7, said during a Wednesday Forward Pinellas meeting.

“It’s similar to the order of construction that the Howard Frankland is going under right now, which the new bridge is going to the north and the southern bridge will be demolished,” Fox said. 

The plans for the new eastbound bridge replacement and widened westbound bridge. All images: FDOT.

Fox presented the project materials to the board as the District 7 office is conducting a project development and environment (PD&E) study for the Gandy Boulevard project, which encompasses a total of 7 miles from 4th Street on the west side in Pinellas County to West Shore Boulevard in Hillsborough County. 

The study first surfaced in 2019 and officially kicked off in February 2020; however, the Covid-19 pandemic caused delays, Fox said. 

The study includes a loop trail connected underneath the bridges. A separated overpass at Brighton Bay Boulevard may also be evaluated, according to project documents. 

The study is focused on these three main segments: 

The existing lanes and conditions for the three segments.  

The Pinellas segment: The 3.6-mile segment consists of two lanes in each direction from 4th Street to the west of Gandy Boulevard. There’s a multi-use trail on the north side. 

The Bay segment: The 2.6-mile segment runs from Gandy Boulevard over Tampa Bay. The segment consists of two bridges with two lanes in each direction. 

The Hillsborough segment: The 1-mile segment runs from the east of Gandy Boulevard to West Shore Boulevard in Hillsborough County. This segment has two lanes in each direction and includes the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, which is managed by the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA).  

Fox said the project aligns with Forward Pinellas’ Active Transportation Plan, which calls for new bike lanes and a trail from 4th Street to the west of San Martin Boulevard, as well as connections to the Pinellas Trail Loop from 28th Street to San Martin Boulevard. Another trail would be built on the Hillsborough County side of the bridge. 

The total cost of the project includes $41.94 million for acquiring the right-of-way, $598.57 for the construction, $59.86 million for engineering and $1.25 million for wetland mitigation.  

FDOT has not secured funding for the construction or the ROW acquisition, which entails purchasing 12 acres of land that could result in the relocation of several businesses. 

However, the “no-build” or “no action” alternative remains a viable option throughout the PD&E study, meaning the proposed project could potentially not come to fruition.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Ernest Thomas

    May 2, 2024at10:38 am

    Nothing will ever happen to this area. All they do is take from this area and never give… Traffic sucks most of the day, it’s dangerous, it’s a dump all over gandy blvd on both sde especially at the trash redneck riviera, illigal activity, trashing the mangroves, illigal racing,bums in woods, bums on boats, derelict boats and more… It will NEVER happen…. FDOT, City Of St Pete, Pinellas County, Sheriffs, SPPD do NOTHING….

  2. Avatar

    gary glauberman

    December 9, 2023at7:13 am

    This project will make entrance to and exit from Gandy safe. And it “future proofs” the main road into and out of the area. But it is not an inexpensive project.

  3. Avatar

    Irma Wehle

    March 11, 2023at4:52 pm

    When you cited – a top tourist day and beach weather.
    The daily jam is on I-275 southbound between Gandy and I-175 exits…no?

  4. Avatar

    John Donovan

    March 9, 2023at4:34 pm

    On a Saturday mid afternoon in Feb the Selmon Expwy westbound was stop and go in a few spots from downtown Tampa and then more stop than go on Gandy bridge and Gandy Blvd in St Petersburg. This improvement is needed. St Petersburg is booming. Ps; visit JJs on Gandy Blvd.

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