I-275 Ashley Drive exit set for elimination
Drivers who used Exit 44 southbound to downtown Tampa will take a detour off Exit 45A.
By KEVIN GRAHAM
Published September 28, 2005
TAMPA - You may want to pay more attention to the road if you travel Interstate 275 south into downtown Tampa using the Ashley Drive exit.
By Friday morning, that ramp will no longer exist.
The Florida Department of Transportation will do away with southbound Exit 44 onto Ashley Drive as part of its reconfiguration of Malfunction Junction, the interchange of I-275 and Interstate 4. Commuters will have to use the exit before Ashley Drive, at Jefferson Street, which is Exit 45A.
The detour should last four months, said department spokesman John McShaffrey. However, when construction is completed, drivers will still use Exit 45A to gain access to Ashley Drive.
Northbound Exit 44 into downtown Tampa on Ashley Drive will remain open.
Once construction is complete, McShaffrey said, drivers will use Exit 45A to reach Jefferson Street, Ashley Drive and N Doyle Carlton Drive, which runs along the Hillsborough River behind Stetson Law School.
The temporary detour suggested by the Transportation Department will take commuters from Exit 45A that will run parallel to southbound I-275. That new ramp will send drivers off onto Doyle Carlton Drive.
There, drivers have two options, McShaffrey said. Turn left onto Doyle Carlton and navigate your way back into downtown, or Option B, which McShaffrey said he recommends.
Drivers should take a right onto Doyle Carlton, driving along the Hillsborough River. Blake High School will be to your left.
Turn right onto E Henderson Avenue, drive past Stetson Law School, then turn right onto N Tampa Street, which leads back into downtown Tampa.
Exit 45A used to give access to E Kay Street, but that ramp will be closed permanently as well, McShaffrey said.
The Transportation Department ultimately will extend the Jefferson exit to connect with Ashley.
Commuters who don't want to navigate the new detour can veer left and onto Jefferson Street from Exit 45A into downtown.
In mid-July, the Transportation Department closed the entrance ramp onto northbound I-275 from Ashley Drive as part of the same construction project. McShaffrey said construction of that ramp is on schedule and it should reopen by December.
The entire interchange reconfiguration should be complete by next summer. For more information about local interstate construction, visit www.mytbi.com
[Last modified September 28, 2005, 02:30:38]
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