The Florida Department of Transportation plans to replace the aging eastbound Howard Frankland Bridge in the future. A Project Development & Environment (PD&E) Study is needed to consider environmental effects associated with the bridge replacement. A key element of the TBARTA Master Plan is to provide a transit connection across Upper Tampa Bay linking Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. Both the TBARTA Master Plan and the Pinellas and Hillsborough MPO LRTPs identify the Howard Frankland Bridge (I-275/SR 93) corridor as the best option for the connection.
The Study determines opportunities and constraints of constructing a potential transit envelope in conjunction with the bridge replacement. The Howard Frankland Bridge corridor must accommodate the appropriate transit provisions to connect all transit systems regionally. While the primary purpose of the study is to examine replacement of the bridge without increasing capacity, the study offers the opportunity to examine how transit could be included in the construction of the bridge replacement. The study includes an examination of engineering constraints and feasible alternatives to accommodate transit in the design of the replacement bridge, or determine if a new structure would be required. The transit element of the study has been closely coordinated with the Pinellas County Alternatives Analysis, including feasible options, cost estimates, and engineering constraints.
A public hearing was held in Pinellas County on October 8, 2014 and in Hillsborough County on October 10, 2014. Additional information available here. The estimated cost of improvements including roadway transitions on either end of the bridge is approximately $390 million in today's dollars. The cost of enhancing the northbound bridge replacement structure for potential rail in the future would cost an estimated $25 million.