$600M Gateway Expressway looking to improve Pinellas County traffic

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Florida Department of Transportation’s most ambitious project in the Tampa Bay area is the Gateway Expressway.

Once it’s completed, the expressway will link the Bayside Bridge and U.S. 19 to Interstate 275. Drivers who are trying to get to the interstate from mid-Pinellas County currently have to navigate surface roads in order to get there.

Greg Deese is an engineer with the FDOT and believes it will dramatically improve traffic flow in Pinellas County.

“So the surface streets are only going to be for local traffic and it’s going to be a huge improvement if you’re commuting through the area, you won’t have to stop at the lights,” said Deese. “Or if you are in the area going to a local business or the airport, you’re not going to have the delays nearly as bad as you have them today.”

But not everyone is excited about the project.

Chris Fava lives in the Shady Lane Village mobile home park – just a stone’s throw away from the construction zone. She says the sounds of machinery and pile drivers have been almost unbearable.

“It literally rattles everything. I mean everything. And it echoes through the whole park. And I’m not the only one complaining,” Fava said. “This banging. And then if it’s not the banging, yesterday it was like the rattle sounding machine. That goes right through your bones. It’s crazy. It’s driving you nuts.”

Fava says a number of her neighbors stay inside while the construction is ongoing to avoid the noise.

Vito Bertini says it goes on all day long.

“And it’s all day. It’s a machine, it don’t rest,” Bertini said. “All day long. Just noise after noise after noise.”

The estimated cost of the project is $600 million with a target completion date of late 2021.

Watch Chip’s full report on the Gateway Expressway tonight at 11 on News Channel 8.

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