By Matt Wiley
Getting from Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. to Morris Bridge Rd. by car could get a lot quicker in the next two years, as the City of Tampa plans to widen the portion of Cross Creek Blvd. that currently is still one lane in each direction, making the entire 4.5-mile stretch four lanes.
The project, which has been in the works for several years, could begin as soon as May 2014, according to city documents. Currently, Cross Creek Blvd. which links BBD to Morris Bridge Rd., is a four-lane divided road for two miles, beginning at BBD east to just beyond Cory Lake Dr. at the entrance to the Cory Lake Isles Professional Center.
Widening the remaining 2.5-mile stretch to a four-lane road, divided by a 22-foot median, is estimated to cost about $6.1 million, which will be paid for with impact fees (money collected from developers when they begin projects in the area), Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) funding and a $1.5-million grant from Hillsborough County, in part because Cross Creek Blvd. is a county road from BBD to where it reduces to two lanes.
“We’ve been working on (this project) for a while,” says City of Tampa Transportation manager Jean Duncan, P.E. “We’re happy about getting it going to avoid future congestion.”
Duncan says that the City is eager to start the project because it currently is ahead of major development on Morris Bridge Rd., particularly in K-Bar Ranch.
In addition to widening the road for vehicles, the project will also improve the options for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, adding a 6-foot-wide sidewalk on the north side of the road and a 12-foot-wide trail on the south side, as well as a 5-foot-wide shoulder to allow space for bicycles.
Duncan says the project will be advertised to potential contractors beginning in October, with the contract expected to be awarded in April 2014. Construction is set to begin in May and is expected to be completed by February of 2016.